MA in English

Eric D. Chapman, 2010

Eric D. Chapman

What work are you doing now?

Currently, I am attorney at CowanPerry PC, a law firm specializing in providing outside general counsel services to regional and national businesses. My practice involves transactional employment law issues and business litigation.

What do you like about it?

Every day is a new challenge. My job involves helping individuals resolve problems in ways that make legal, financial, and common sense, which can be difficult but is immensely rewarding. It's a fast-paced job that rewards critical thinking and writing skills, as well as an ability to get along with people from all walks of life. There is never a dull moment and I like it that way!

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

My literature studies at Mason taught me to pay careful attention to details, identify the underlying assumptions of any position, and be capable of considering a story from alternative points of view. The reading and writing assignments and discussions of a character’s or persona's motives are very similar to analyzing litigation and case law in my field. Moreover, I had some very intense discussions regarding the intent of an author with regard to the text, and in the legal field there is always a robust discussion about the intention of the author (the judge or judges), so there are certain similarities.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

Developing your career and finding a rewarding job is a mixture of your dedication and your ability to identify and learn from good mentors. I am deeply indebted to those mentors (both during my time at Mason and beyond) who believed in me and encouraged me to keep reaching for that next milestone. Also, learning to gracefully accept feedback, whether positive or negative, is invaluable to development. I didn't recognize some of the excellent advice I received at the time I received it because I was too focused on the context and my ego.