WMU-Cooley Graduate Andrew Hudson: Path from Teacher to Lawyer Inspired Choice

It made sense for Andrew Hudson, now an assistant attorney general for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, to go into education for his first career. “My grandfather was a teacher and I had a couple of aunts who were also teachers,” remembered Andrew Hudson about his decision to go into education as an undergrad at Western Michigan University. “I was always good in school and I was someone who tutored classmates. I was in the National Honor Society and I made the logical assumption that because I was good in school, I would be good in teaching or education. And I liked it. I like the process of learning, and I liked school, so I wanted to make a career out of it.”

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ATTENDING WMU A LOGICAL DECISION

It was also a logical decision for Andrew to attend Western. Not only was WMU known for having a great education department, it also happened to be located in his hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan. “I wanted to be near home. I had grandparents that were elderly and I was helping take care of them. I also wanted an opportunity to work in the local schools where I grew up and went to school, and return for my teaching career.”

“While I was at Western, I actually worked at a local agency with emotionally impaired children and that experience was the real springboard into teaching,” recalled Andrew with a smile. “Working with emotionally impaired kids really helped kick the shyness right out of me! I interned in Kalamazoo Public Schools for a term, then worked for two years in elementary schools, a Catholic school, then a charter school. At the end of my three years, I decided that I needed to reassess teaching as a long-term career, for a variety of reasons. I knew that I was really skilled at the academics, the presentation of the lesson, and the assessment of the children. I was also very good at organizing and delivering the material in the most effective way, but I never found my groove connecting with the kids or the parents. One thing I knew for certain though was that my educational skills and experience would apply to a lot of different jobs that could be a better fit for me.”

DECISION TO ATTEND LAW SCHOOL INSPIRED REASONING

“Looking back, it was strange, I never saw myself as being the lawyer type,” recalled Andrew, “but in my summer breaks, the thing that I loved doing the most was watching court TV. I loved watching trials and watching the lawyers make their arguments and question the witnesses. I liked the structure of it. It was similar to a classroom, in the sense that you had a jury that you were trying to teach the case to. And I thought that was really fascinating. It became clear that my personal evolution and career goals had changed. I felt that being an attorney now was a great fit for me.  I never thought growing up that I would be able to be a lawyer, then suddenly I turned around and now I’m thinking ‘yeah, I can do that.'”

SUCCESS IN LAW SCHOOL ACHIEVED

Not only could he do it, he did it very well.  Andrew graduated second out of 351 students at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and found he had a real knack for winning Mock Trial competitions. “I was in Mock Trial, which was my main extracurricular activity,” said Andrew. “I was in the first-year Mock Trial competition, and I won. My partner and I won. And I discovered I had a talent for it. I signed up the very next semester for the evidence competition, and won that. Then the following semester I went on to the national team for Mock Trial. I enjoyed it. It was fun. I got to use my teaching skills, in a way, to organize and plan things out, then speak in front of people. It seemed like a natural transition for what I used to do, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.”

PATH FROM LAW SCHOOL TO THE AG’S OFFICE

“During law school, I got an internship at the county prosecutor’s office in the economic crime unit,” said Andrew. “I worked there for about two years while I went to law school. My work with that office allowed me to set up diversion payment programs for misdemeanor fraud defendants. I was also responsible for educating and assisting defendants. I was able to transition from there into more court work. I was doing pre-trial meetings with unrepresented defendants on other cases and actually doing jury trials and bench trials by myself.”

Andrew’s initiative and work ethic didn’t go unnoticed. When he was sworn in to Eaton County court, the judge that swore him in, Judge Calvin Osterhaven,  was so impressed with his résumé that he called him a month later and hired him.  “I enjoyed working for Judge O. for six months knowing that he was looking into retirement. Being a law clerk was definitely a great experience and it was something I was very glad I did, but I knew that I needed to look for other work. I had applied for a job at the AG’s office and they ended up calling me about a month after I got the job as the law clerk. After a couple rounds of interviews,  the AG’s Office called me back for a third interview. They brought me up to the 7th floor and walked me into Bill Schuette’s office. That was my final interview. I was hired.”

WMU-COOLEY STILL IMPRESSES

“The best decision I ever made was to go to law school,” stated Andrew. “I grew up in law school. I didn’t realize how, until I looked back on everything. I had matured a lot during that time and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that in law school you are kind of on your own to figure out what is best for you, how to study and prepare, and to figure out what extracurricular activities you want to engage in. But at the same time Cooley has got plenty of help for people who need it. And you can take advantage of it to whatever extent you want to. And so that really helped me mature and grow up as a professional. I really did find the perfect job for me after law school. Cooley really had a lot to do with it. I was not your traditional law school student in the sense that I was a little bit older, I had been in one career already, I wasn’t going from undergraduate to law school, and Cooley kind of catered to that sort of thing, the non-traditional pathway. The scholarship offer was, of course, enticing. It was local, but it was also bigger. Cooley, just because of its size, just had more opportunities. I came here on a tour and the facilities were impressive. It was good to see that there were a lot of mechanisms to help you get through law school. They really did want you to succeed. And if you didn’t, it was probably because you didn’t take advantage of all the avenues of help that were out there.”

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Filed under Alumni Stories and News, Skills, The Value of a Legal Education, Uncategorized

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