Class of 2012
Talent Acquisition, Legal
The lowlight of Joey Mack’s football career at the University of Memphis was getting knocked unconscious on national television. But one of the highlights was meeting a football booster who helped shape his career.
He was a human resources executive, but he didn’t have a business degree. He had a law degree. “I was interested in HR as a career, and he told me that a law degree would set me apart from the crowd,” Mack said. “There are skills you learn in law school that people with MBAs don’t have.”
Writing skills, for example. Mack’s interest in developing his writing ability led him across the country to Seattle University School of Law, which has the nation’s top-ranked Legal Writing Program.
“I learned how to write well and how to write persuasively – to keep it professional, not personal,” he said. “I remember doing oral arguments in Legal Writing 2 and becoming a confident speaker.”
Mack is now a legal recruiter at Amazon, one of the Seattle area’s top employers and an internationally recognized brand. He helps the company’s subsidiaries figure out their legal needs and recruits executives for those positions.
Every day, he uses the writing and speaking skills he learned in law school. That’s because at Amazon, PowerPoint presentations are banned at meetings. People who lead meetings are instead expected to write a white paper and then discuss it.
And even though he’s a relatively junior employee, Mack’s work puts him in regular contact with high-level executives at the company.
“I use the skills I learned in Legal Writing all the time – even if it’s just in e-mail,” he said. “I know I have 30 seconds, maybe four sentences, to get a VP’s attention and make my point. I have to be concise, I have to be persuasive.”
Mack was never interested in a law firm or the judiciary. For him, going into a less traditional legal job was Plan A, not Plan B. In addition to Legal Writing, he also took courses in employment law, business
law and dispute resolution to prepare himself for a career in business. At Amazon, he can wear his Seattle Sounders jersey rather than a suit and tie, take his phone and laptop up to a sunny roof deck to work, grab a new book from shelves filled with freebies, and make his schedule flexible enough to spend time with his wife and infant daughter.
“I didn’t have to take the bar. I hope to never take the bar,” he said, laughing.