Carly Taylor ′11
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Major: Political Science
Fun fact: Carly loves words in all forms, not just as tools for proving a case. When she was in high school, she started working on a novel-length work of fiction and plans to have it completed before she heads off to law school.
What aspect of your major do you enjoy most?
To be honest, every time I take a Poli Sci class, I’m convinced that’s the part I love most about the discipline. The professors here are so dedicated and inspiring that, by the end of every course, I know I’ll study that subject matter for the rest of my life. But, then again, I’ll admit I do tend to get really excited about new prospects. When I was in middle school, for example, I wanted to be a mountain climber after watching the movie “Vertical Limit.” Then, in high school, I decided I wanted to be an architect after taking a road trip with my dad to New Mexico and seeing the architecture of the area. Needless to say, those ideas were short-lived. I’ve always returned to my long-running passion: litigation.
What aspect of law most interests you?
I haven’t narrowed it down just yet. I don’t want to spend my entire life working toward a narrow goal only to find, in the end, that it doesn’t satisfy me. For a while, I entertained the idea of being a federal- or state-level prosecutor … until I worked for one. One summer, I interned at the state attorney’s office in Chicago. To say the least, that internship didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. Like any intern, I did my fair share of making copies and pushing papers, but most of my job consisted of compiling packets of depositions and legal research to place in attorneys’ hands as they walked into the courtroom. Watching them strut into that room, day after day, I couldn’t help thinking how utterly terrified I would be if I were in their position. I’m a very organized person, so the notion of having only moments to flip through all the necessary information before having to build my case before the jury seems like the worst thing in the world. That experience taught me what I definitely don’t want to do, but through the Mock Trial program, I’ve gotten a taste of what I possibly do want to do.
How did you first become involved with Mock Trial?
Soon after arriving at Rhodes, I met with Dr. Marcus Pohlmann who’s the pre-law adviser as well as the head of Rhodes’ Mock Trial program. With his guidance, I mapped out what classes I needed to take in order to best prepare for a legal career. Because I had decided on my goals, I wanted to give Mock Trial a try and see if I was aiming in the right direction. I’m now the captain of the A team where I am an “attorney.” Through Mock Trial, I have learned that no matter how many times I step into a courtroom, I will always be nervous. I’ve been involved in the program since freshman year and even though I’ve become more versed in the rules and procedures, that anxiety factor hasn’t completely gone away. Now I know when I’m choosing my career, I’m going to need to either find an occupation that doesn’t involve so much impromptu performance or simply suck it up and learn to deal with the anxiety. I’ve spoken to practicing lawyers who’re in their 40s and 50s who all say that after years on the job, they still get a little nervous. Practice may make you better, but it doesn’t make it much easier to predict what’s going to happen inside that room.
So, where to from here?
Honestly, I don’t have a set plan—and I’m OK with that. I know that I want to go to law school after graduation but everything after that is still up in the air. There was a time when I used to dread being like those people who experiment with different occupations throughout their lifetimes—but now, I would be totally OK with having 18 different jobs throughout my life. I’d much rather try a variety of options than cage myself in to only one career that may not grant me the fulfillment I desire. And I know that with the education and practical experience Rhodes has afforded me, I’ll get there.