A Career Beyond Law

From distinguishing his résumé to helping him to think on his feet, Chris Meagher’s degree continues to support his life goals.

Chris Meagher

Chris Meagher is living proof that a law degree can benefit a career in many fields beyond the law.

Meagher earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University in 2005 and held a few internship and entry-level positions thereafter—reporting on everything from gardening to high school football—before landing a job at the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper in 2007.

“There, I covered local politics and the courts mostly, and came to find the court system very interesting,” he says. “I felt like I was using my talents for something useful.”

A natural perk of a job in journalism is the meaningful and far-reaching relationships developed out in the community. One such relationship with an alumna of the Colleges of Law ultimately encouraged Meagher to pursue his J.D.

“There is a lot of overlap between law and journalism,” he explains. “I knew it would make me a stronger writer and a more analytical thinker.”

Impressed by the Colleges of Law’s reputation, accessibility, and value, Meagher took the plunge. It wasn’t easy, and many sacrifices were made along the way, but he always had support.

“If a fire broke out in the middle of the night, I had to go cover it for the paper!” he says. “But despite my crazy schedule, I had endless support from the Colleges of Law. I never had a professor that wasn’t willing to work with me when something urgent popped up.”

In his last year of school, Meagher moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as communications director for U.S. Representative Lois Capps, who represents Santa Barbara and the surrounding area. After a stint as a communications manager at General Motors, Meagher is the senior communications advisor for the Colorado Democratic Party today.

He says his law degree has helped him in countless ways, from distinguishing his résumé from other candidates to helping him to think on his feet in front of reporters and appropriately frame a public policy conversation in the national news.

“I think I also bring my employers peace of mind,” he says. “Having someone on the staff who knows how to understand legalese or explain Supreme Court proceedings has been beneficial in many instances.”

Meagher says he has nothing but positive memories of his time at the Colleges of Law and encourages others to not let the fact they don’t want to practice law be a deterrent to pursuing a law degree.

“You can’t underestimate how valuable your law degree will be,” he says. “You will leave the Colleges of Law a better professional all around, no matter your field of choice.”