Before becoming a casting and development consultant, Erin Murphy (BSJ02) worked as a counsel at Bancroft PLLC, where her practice consists of appellate work and strategic legal advising, which means getting involved in a case at the ground level and anticipating any appeals down the line. She also occasionally writes briefs and argues appeals. Roughly half her work is before the U.S. Supreme Court, either working on the briefs for cases the Court is going to hear argued or preparing petitions for certiorari in an attempt to get the Court to grant cases for full briefing and argument. She has briefed matters including National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (a landmark healthcare case), Bond v. United States, PPL Montana v. Montana and PPL Corp. v. Commissioner.
As a lawyer, the writing skills Medill taught her have been invaluable. “Lawyers aren’t always known for being particularly concise, so it has made a huge difference to have a background that forced me to focus on how to use one word instead of two or three, and how to write in a way that readers will find accessible,” she says. When working on a brief, she tries to explain things in way that someone who isn’t a legal professional could read and understand. “Of course that works better for some legal issues than others, but I think my journalism background has helped me bring at least a bit of that to all of my cases.”
Her favorite Medill experience was her internship at Newsday. “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to get some real-world work experience before graduating. And I was one of a few Medill students who chose to spend half of my time focusing on copy editing, which is a skill that has served me very well in the different kind of writing that I now do for a living.”