Student Spotlight: Matthew Herrington (1L)

Justice Carley

News @ Georgia Law May 2011 Student Profile


Name: Matthew W. Herrington
Niceville, Fla.
Expected graduation year:
Georgia Law achievements and awards:
John Alton Hosch and Law School Association Scholarships
Undergraduate degree(s)/institution(s)/year(s):
B.A./Florida State University/2004; A.M./Harvard University/2008; Ph.D. Candidate (ABD)/Harvard University/2009


1. What did you do before attending law school?

  • After college, I spent five years in a Ph.D. program studying Russian and Ukrainian literature. My research was primarily on monastic texts from medieval and early-modern Ukraine. Between graduate school and law school, I spent a year teaching English in Daegu, South Korea.


2. Why did you choose to attend Georgia Law?

  • Being a Georgia resident (thanks, Mom!) and hoping to work in Atlanta, Georgia Law just made sense. It's a great education at a great price and opens up unparalleled job opportunities in Georgia. I was so certain that UGA was the place for me that I didn't apply anywhere else.


3. What inspired you to become a lawyer?

  • I spent the better part of a decade planning on an academic career. But with a poor economy and cuts to higher education left and right - especially to the humanities - my career outlook was bleak. After completing general exams, I decided to leave my Ph.D. program and began searching for a second calling, something that could satisfy me intellectually and keep me interested for the next 40 years or so. Law fit the bill better than anything else. I'm now more certain than ever that I made a great choice.


4. What are your plans after graduation?

  • I'm hoping to begin a career in criminal defense, though I'm not yet sure whether I want to work in a firm or as a public defender.


5. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

  • I'd like to eventually focus my practice on appellate work, so hopefully I'll be making progress towards that goal.


6. What are some activities/clubs/clinics you are involved in at the law school?

  • This fall I'll be starting in the Criminal Defense Clinic. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do real criminal defense work in law school, to work with actual clients and, as a 3L, to handle my own cases.


7. What are your hobbies?

  • I'm a classical music fanatic. I especially love opera.


8. If you could share an afternoon with anyone, with whom would you choose to spend it?

  • Maria Callas (legendary opera signer).


9. Where is your favorite place to study?

  • At home, with my Great Dane, Norma.


10. What are two things you always have with you when you study?

  • Bach and Cherry Coke Zero.


11. What do you do to handle the stress of law school?

  • Norma makes sure I don't go too long without taking a break.