Q&A with English Alumnus: Jason McVicker

Jason McVicker (BA ’08, JD ’12)  

Degree(s) and graduation year: 

JM: English degree in 2008 and then I graduated with a Juris Doctor from TU law school in 2012. 

Overview of career after graduation and current position 

JM: I graduated in 2008, which was kind of a lousy time to graduate from college because of the recession. I ended up working for the Bank of Commerce for a year and it was a good job, but I knew the position wasn’t a long-term career for me. I was talking to a friend and he mentioned he was going to TU law school. I thought it would be something I could really sink my teeth into and become a career. So, I studied for the Law School Admission Test and that was 10 years ago now. I am currently a shareholder at McAfee & Taft.  

How has your English degree shaped your career in law?  

JM: In the practice of law, there’s nothing more important than your credibility. When you go into a court and you are educated, articulate and accurate, the judge learns they can trust you. A lot of the success I’ve had is a direct result of my English degree because I know about research and writing so I can make intelligent arguments. As far as critical thinking goes, being able to make a compelling and persuasive point to not just judges but clients and opposing counsel is also crucial. And my English degree taught me how to do that through English literature. Literature teaches you about how people think. It teaches you about systems and complexity in a way that is fundamental to the practice of law. There’s a natural complimentary element to having an English degree when you’re going into law school.

What would you say to someone who is apprehensive about majoring in English? 
JM: Our civilization is built around information and communication. More and more of our jobs as Americans are about communicating with each other. All industries benefit from an English degree. You’re always going to have someone who needs to be able to engage in critical thinking and communicate clearly. The skills I learned with my English degree are skills I use as a lawyer. 

Highlight from college:  

JM: I’ve been thinking a lot about when I studied abroad because travel is restricted currently due to the pandemic. I think one of the things that was special for me was TU’s robust study abroad program. Studying abroad in Leicester has continued to impact my life. In these moments of turbulence, we can think back to when we were able to travel and have these bright moments.