Morehead State graduates go on to continue their education at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, and Katherine Griffitts (18) is no exception. Currently in her second year at the Notre Dame Law School, she is the editor of the Notre Dame Law Review, a member of the Moot Court Board and is in the top 10 percent of her class. One of the things Griffitts said prompted her to attend Notre Dame was the support law students there receive from alumni.
“Notre Dame alumni, from both the law school and the undergraduate level, go above and beyond to help current students get where they want to be,” Griffitts said. “I knew that if I went to Notre Dame, I would have this amazingly talented and educated group of individuals from all across the country at my back, supporting me and helping me to grow as an advocate and as a professional.”
While at MSU, Griffitts was a double major in English and legal studies. She said her interest in working in law began in high school when she worked part-time at a personal injury law firm in her hometown of Springfield. While attending MSU, Griffitts gained hands-on experience through working with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. Last summer, she worked with a Superior Court judge, where she observed murder trials and other high-profile litigation, and a boutique government contracts litigation firm, where attorneys represented government contractors in breach of contract claims and bid protests against the government. This summer, Griffitts will have her most prestigious internship yet, working for Latham and Watkins LLP, the second-largest law firm in the country.
Griffitts went on to say the foundation she gained at MSU has jump-started her progress in law school.
“I cannot sing the praises of the MSU legal studies program enough. I learned so much in those courses that prepared me for law school, like legal research and writing. Those professors really took an interest in my success and helped to get me where I am now. My English courses were also so helpful in refining my writing skills and helping me get accustomed to the sheer volume of reading I do in law school.”– Katherine Griffitts
One of the things Griffitts said she likes best about law school is the people she’s met, who have opened her eyes to a broad range of perspectives and viewpoints. She said the most challenging thing she’s faced is the culture of being a law student.
“If you are not working, you feel guilty, and there is a lot of pressure to perform. But it is like a trial by fire; once you make it through it, you’re stronger for it,” she said.
Asked what advice she would give to someone considering attending law school, Griffitts said they shouldn’t feel like they have to fit a specific mold to be successful.
“There are theatre majors, music majors, engineering majors and more in law school. You by no means have to major in political science or a legal-focused major,” Griffitts said. “I would also say learn how to network. It took me a while to get comfortable with cold-emailing people to network, but it is something you have to do if you are trying to break into a market. Networking is also a skill you need once you are an attorney anyway, so develop that skill as early as possible.”
While Griffitts has no concrete career plans, she has an interest in litigation and said a law degree opens up a wealth of opportunities for her.
“I went into law school knowing that I wanted to be a litigator. Beyond that, I am still figuring it out,” she said. “There are so many different options you can pursue with a legal career. You can try to make partner, you can run to be a judge, you can become in-house counsel, or you could move up in the government. I’m going to do my best and see where my career takes me.”