Carnegie Mellon University
May 18, 2015

Professional Writing Major Looks to Her Writing Skills to Jump-start a Career in Law

Professional Writing Major Looks to Her Writing Skills to Jump-start a Career in Law

Many Carnegie Mellon professional writing majors land jobs in the fields of journalism, marketing, and document design. However, Lauren Williams, is bucking the trend by pursuing a career in Law.

Williams, who is also minoring in business administration, is planning to attend law school to earn a dual-degree Juris Doctor/Masters of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A) from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. 

“Lawyers rely on their writing abilities on a daily basis,” said Williams. “The strength of a lawyer’s writing and rhetoric skills can determine the success or failure of his/her career. I think that a professional writing degree will be an excellent foundation for a legal education.”

After gaining experience in the non-profit and corporate world through various internships and jobs, Williams decided to pursue a career in corporate law where she can apply her strong technical and analytical abilities. 

She interned at the national disaster relief non-profit organization, Mercury One, Inc., her junior year and the first semester of her senior year – exposing her to the legal nuances of starting a business and running a non-profit. Then, Williams was awarded a Friedman Fellowship and interned in Congress last summer in Washington D.C.– enabling her to delve into law making and policy. 

She currently interns at Snow Capital Management, L.P., an investment management firm. There, she performs financial research and analysis and prepares marketing materials. This work has helped her develop an interest in business management and corporate law.

“These experiences combined with my classes and invaluable guidance from CMU faculty have enabled me to make a well-researched, confident decision to attend law school,” said Williams. “I am so grateful for my undergraduate experience at Carnegie Mellon – particularly within the English Department – as it has empowered me to find a career path that is a perfect fit for my skills and interests.”

Williams said a combination of writing, decision science, and business classes helped prepare her for law school including “Topics in Rhetoric: Argument,” “Argument Theory,” “Law, Culture, and the Humanities,” “Topics in Law: Bill of Rights,” and “Business Law.”

Williams started at Carnegie Mellon as a biological sciences major, but she switched to professional writing her sophomore year because the professional writing program was a much better fit for her interests. 

“My advisor, Professor James Wynn, has been an incredible mentor and was one of the first to help me transition from science to writing – and has been critical to my success ever since,” said Williams. “Through his “Topics in Rhetoric: Argument” class, Professor Wynn taught me essential analytical skills and was one of the first to inspire me to attend law school.”

According to Professor Wynn, “Lauren is one of those talented students that can manage juggling the responsibilities that come with trying to develop expertise in multiple fields. She has dedicated herself to trying out new things both in the classroom and through her internships. Mentoring her as she’s explored new interests and developed new skills has been very rewarding.”

“Professors Chris Neuwirth, John Oddo, Joanna Wolfe, Thomas O’Boyle, and Christopher Warren have all inspired me to become a better writer, researcher, and critical thinker,” said Williams. “I would like to thank them for their dedication and enthusiasm. Their classes never ceased to be enjoyable and educational.”

William’s experience at her on-campus jobs as a Communication Consultant and Director of Social Media at the Global Communication Center (GCC) and as an Academic Counselor in the Academic Development department were also instrumental to her success.

“The GCC has enabled me to practice and develop my writing and editing skills as much as any class has and Academic Development has given me the opportunity to help other students achieve their goals,” said Williams.

She plans to continue helping people achieve their goals as an in-house lawyer for a corporation in the Pittsburgh region once she has completed her graduate studies. Williams’ long-term career goal is to have a corporate management position or start a business.

“I am particularly interested in working in either financial services or the energy sector, as both are complex, highly influential fields with a strong Western Pennsylvania presence,” said Williams. “Regardless of which direct path I pursue, I hope to become a leader in the challenging, multifaceted field of law.”

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By: Amanda King