Lea Madry, '13

Lea Madry, ‘13
Columbus, Ohio
Undergrad: Ohio State University-Columbus, ‘10
Major: Sociology
Law School activities/organizations: Black Law Students Association, Law Women’s Caucus, Labor and Employment Law Society, University of Chicago Representative to the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois

Part way through her 1L year, Lea Madry was at a crossroad.

She came to the Law School dreaming of a future in litigation advocating for those whose civil rights had been violated. “In my mind, that is what it meant to benefit the community as an attorney,” Lea says. As she spent more time becoming familiar with different practice areas, she began to realize that she was far more interested in transactional law than litigation. It was a difficult decision, but she changed her career goal to a practice she knew she would enjoy, understanding that there are ways to contribute to the community outside direct practice.

The Law School encourages panel discussions, lunchtime talks, and the proliferation of nearly fifty student organizations that expose students to the wide world of career choices available to them. Prospective students don’t need to settle on a career before they arrive because their minds will open in their first year to options they never considered possible.

After she made her realization, Lea spent her 1L summer interning at Kraft Foods Global, Inc., handling everything from environmental regulatory work to drafting intercompany license agreements. It was a long way from her status the previous summer–a fresh college grad eagerly anticipating the challenges law school would present. Lea recalls worrying back then that her future law school classmates would have graduate degrees or years of work experience that would put them at an advantage.

“That wasn’t the case. At Chicago, successful people come from all kinds of educational and work experiences,” she said. “My class was pretty well split between those with significant work experience and those with less than a year or two.”

The Law School has encouraged plenty of social opportunities for Lea to get to know those classmates, as well as her professors and the many practicing attorneys and scholars who visit for lectures and lunchtime talks. In her first year, she used those opportunities to soak in her classmates’ thoughts and opinions. (Chicago’s relatively small classes mean Lea can get to know many of them.) She met an influential mentor through the Women’s Mentoring Program. Her courses opened her mind to new ways of thinking about the law.

In short, she was prepared to take the path that was best for her.

Here's why Lea chose Chicago Law:

“In a time when there seemed to be a new article every week about why attending law school was a bad idea due to the economy, it was imperative to me that my investment in attending a law school was a sound one. Even beyond ‘six months after graduation statistics,’ I knew that Chicago Law would give me the foundation to build a successful long-term career.”