Aaron Blair ‘08
Aaron has applied skills from his Classics major to law
September 17, 2011
“I graduated from Southwestern in 2008 as a classics major with business and art history minors. If you read my student story, you can see that I worked at a law firm while attending Southwestern because I was considering the study of law. After graduation, I worked for two years in the intellectual property department at Fulbright & Jaworski in Austin for the same reason. There, I gained some much needed perspective on what I wanted to do with my career. During that time, I married a Southwestern alumna, and we moved into a little house in Austin.
“One of the benefits of my undergraduate education is the vast amount of opportunities and paths that it has allowed me to explore. Upon graduation, I considered pursuing graduate degrees in international business, public policy, and various masters programs focusing on central Asia. After a lot of searching, I made the choice to pursue a law degree first toward my goal of working in international business. The study of Roman, Greek, and Near Eastern cultures, as well as my exposure to Turkey through my study abroad experience, led me to an appreciation of how important international relationships are in the increasingly global business environment. Today, I am in the middle of my second year of law school at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.
“My undergraduate education in the classics has provided me with the writing, research, detail comprehension, and oral advocacy skills necessary for the study of law. Writing is what lawyers do every day, even trial lawyers. My writing benefited greatly from the intensive writing coursework in the classics and art history departments, as well as from the no fluff, to-the-point writing style taught in the business department.
“Research is integral to the study and practice of law. My argument is only as strong as my supporting rationale. I had the opportunity to work with both MLA and Chicago Manual of Style; this experience put me way ahead of my peers when learning the Blue Book legal citation format that is used for all legal writing.
“Learning a language such as Latin or ancient Greek is similar to learning the law. There is a set of legal rules (grammar) which must be applied to translate the outcome of unique fact situations (original Latin or Greek texts). The skill of taking a structured language with rules, exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions and learning how to use it has provided me with a huge advantage in my legal studies. I even use similar studying methods to memorize case law and statute elements that I used to study ancient Greek and Latin.
“Presenting my research in the art history and classics capstones at Southwestern helped me to develop my oral advocacy skills. Researching, writing, and understanding a topic only takes one so far; one needs to be able to present that complex information to a superior, client, or even a judge and jury in a way they can understand it. This summer, I presented my research on a securities law issue to the entire executive management of a major oil & gas corporation. In my first year of law school, I competed in mock trial, moot court, and negotiations tournaments.
“My undergraduate education in the classics at Southwestern has allowed me to pursue my career goals with the confidence that I am well prepared for whatever comes next.”