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Alisha Trotter

Alisha Trotter

Class of 2014

King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office

What type of law do you currently practice?

Criminal

What did you do before law school and what led you to pursue a law degree?

Prior to law school, I worked in insurance and portfolio management. What really prompted me to consider law school was my experience in a summer medical and dental program that I participated in while an undergrad. The program served as a resource for students interested in medicine and dentistry. While this program covered various aspects of the medical and dental field, I was most drawn to health care policy. Given that I attended this program prior to the Affordable Care Act, we were tasked with writing a paper on whether we believed health care was a right or a privilege. I advocated that health care was a right.

Through volunteering in low-income clinics, I directly saw how a lack of access to health care dramatically affected patients, especially when it came to treatment. Doctors were limited in appropriately recommending treatment for patients due to financial constraints, which perpetuated the patient's illness. It was after writing that paper that I realized that given my skill set, I could make more of a difference in the community as a lawyer than as a physician. So I took two years off to gain work experience so that I could be sure that law was the career path I wanted to pursue.

The choice to go to law school was further reinforced in working for an insurance and retirement services company as a sales associate. I felt there was a lack of accountability that insurance agents had when selling retirement and insurance products to their clients. Unfortunately, I witnessed how an insurance agent's poor decision to sell a product that was unfit for a client's needs led those clients to be negatively impacted by their insurance policies and the retirement products they held. My work experience in combination with my passion for affordable health care is what led me to pursue a law degree.

What law school experiences helped you establish your current career?

The externship program and the law clinics were very instrumental in helping me obtain my current career. While in law school, I had the opportunity to extern with the King County Prosecutor's Office, Court of Appeals Division One, and MultiCare. I also participated in the Community Development and Entrepreneurship clinic. This clinic enabled law students to collaborate with business students to help startup business owners achieve their goals. Seattle University had an array of options for students and had strong career counselors that aided and assisted me in applying to these positions. These experiences helped me gain the skills that I needed to be successful in my current profession as a prosecutor, and will serve me well in the future.

Describe how the skills and/or knowledge you gained in law school help you in your day-to-day work.

As a prosecutor, I am always in court arguing to judges and juries, and writing briefs. While I enjoyed the majority of my classes, I would have to say the trial advocacy class and the Legal Writing Program are the most practical academic classes that help me in my day-to-day work. In my trial advocacy class, I was taught by two experienced trial attorneys and learned how to effectively present a case to a jury. In my legal writing class I not only learned how to write a persuasive brief, but learned how to argue effectively in an appellate setting. The trial advocacy class and the Legal Writing Program provided me with the foundation I needed to become an effective advocate.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students?

For prospective law students, I would advise that prior to coming to law school, you seek employment in an area of law that you are interested in and to make sure the place has attorney or prospective attorney positions. I believe doing this will help you facilitate new connections in the area of law you are interested in, and may make it easier for you to secure internships and employment.

For current law students, I would advise you to try as many different externships and clinics as you can to vary your experience. You never know what type of opportunity could come along and how an experience you had while in law school can make you more competitive for employment. Furthermore, introducing yourself to as many areas of law as possible while in school will help you solidify the legal career path you desire to achieve.

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