Katie Chounet: 2016 Best and Brightest

by Jeff Schmitt on

Katie Chounet

Katie Chounet

William & Mary Law School

Hometown: Concord, Ohio

Undergraduate School: Wittenberg University

Undergraduate Major and Minor: Majored in English and Psychology; Minored in Sociology.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:

  • William & Mary Law Review, Lead Articles Editor
  • William & Mary National Trial Team, Lead Development Counsel (2015-2016); Vice Development Counsel (2014-2015)
  • Legal Writing and Practice Fellow
  • Equality Alliance, Secretary (2015-2016); Deputy Treasurer and Outreach Coordinator (2014-2015)

Awards:

  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Evidence (Fall 2014)
  • Phi Delta Phi
  • Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Chappell Fellowship (merit-based scholarship)

Where have you interned during law school? Cuyahoga County Department of Law, Cleveland, Ohio (Summer 2014 and 2015)

What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? I am genuinely excited by civil litigation in a variety of practice areas, especially employment and labor law and personal injury work, so I hope to specialize in at least some of those areas.

Why did you choose to attend law school? Quite simply, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and going to law school was the way to do that.

What was your favorite law school class? Trial Advocacy with the Trial Team. It made the biggest impact on me by raising my confidence, forcing me out of my comfort zone, and affirming my passion for litigation both in and out of the courtroom.

Which attorney do you most admire? Kate Brown. Although she is far better known as a politician than as an attorney, I admire her for her courage to be open about her bisexuality and for her advocacy for the LGBT community. Because her story has become so well-known, she’s made a great difference not only in people’s understanding of what it means to be bisexual, but also in normalizing the presence of openly LGBT individuals in both law and politics. As an LGBT woman about to enter the legal community, in which both those groups are underrepresented, I view her as a source of inspiration and encouragement.

What have you enjoyed most about law school? The William & Mary community. Although law school is inherently competitive, William & Mary students are unexpectedly and delightfully supportive of one another. The students as a whole are a hardworking and humorous bunch, and because of them, most of my law school days have been enjoyable.

What word best describes your professional brand? Passion. I enjoy practicing law! It excites me, and that excitement frequently bubbles over into my tone of voice, body language, and work.

If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job? I would buy something special and possibly unnecessarily extravagant for my mom or at least take her out for a spectacular meal because I couldn’t have made it this far without her support.

“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…I knew I wanted to go to law school when I was a young girl watching Law and Order with my mom and again when I was a college student studying the psychological and sociological impacts of the American legal system.”

“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…pursuing a Ph.D. in either English or psychology in the hope of eventually becoming a college professor.”

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of becoming the Trial Team’s Lead Development Counsel. In that role, I teach the new team members the Federal Rules of Evidence and some basics of trial advocacy. I had no experience in mock trial or trial advocacy prior to joining the team. Despite that, my coach and peers have entrusted me with this responsibility and regularly turn to me for assistance as they prepare for competitions, particularly on evidentiary issues. It’s an achievement that gives me a renewed feeling of pride—and still some surprise—every time my coach or a teammate reiterates their faith in me.

Fun fact about yourself: I used to cosplay at anime conventions—meaning I dressed up as some of my favorite characters.

Favorite book: Love Story by Erich Segal

Favorite movie: Role Models and Wreck-It-Ralph

What are your hobbies? Baking, playing video games, and reading

What made Katie such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016? “Katie is a model of excellence as a law student. As the Lead Articles Editor on our Law Review, she helps to shape the future of legal scholarship; as a leader of our award-winning National Trial Team, she mentors and guides her classmates as they become skilled in the art of oral advocacy; and as an officer in Equality Alliance, she works to create engagement and awareness among the members of our community. I have no doubt that she will become a leader in the legal profession.”

Laura A. Heymann
Vice Dean and Professor of Law  
William & Mary Law School

 

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