William & Mary

Will Federspiel '08: Law and Public Policy

Will FederspielWill Federspiel’s experience in the working world informed his decision to pursue a joint degree in law and public policy. As an undergraduate at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, he majored in political science. From there he entered the workforce, a choice he has found to be invaluable. “I think it’s important to take a couple of years,” Will explained. “Do something, get some exposure, take advantage of job experience.”

For Will, this meant five years in Washington, D.C., “a natural extension” of his political science degree.  When he decided to return to school, several factors led him to William & Mary.  “It’s one of the top law schools – a small program, so you get to know your peers.  And for me there was the in-state tuition.” 

The combination of public policy and law degrees has been a natural one for Will, encompassing his two greatest interests and making him a force to be reckoned with in the working world.  During his first summer in the program, Will worked with the James City County Planning office where he formed an interest in land use policy - "an area," he notes, "that has ramifications for everything from the economy to the environment to the healthcare system."  Last summer, he took a job as a research assistant at the law school. 

These days, Will often can be seen with piles and piles of papers in his lap, the product of his latest writing effort which will be published in William & Mary's Bill of Rights Journal next year.  “I’m finishing up my Note (a student written article) for the Bill of Rights journal article," he explained, gesturing to a thick binder.  “I’ve never been accused of being shortwinded.”   He is also working with a member of the law school faculty on a project reviewing existing models of  Supreme Court decision-making and the role of swing justices, analyzing when and why they’re important.  “It probably sounds boring,” he laughed, “But it’s really interesting to me.”

After finishing up work on his degrees, Will looks forward to returning to the workforce and helping to inform decision-making and scholarly debate regarding land use.  He’s aiming for flexibility, “be it in the private sector, government, or public service.”