Lally A. Gartel is Vice President and Senior Counsel for Litigation at Guaranteed Rate, Inc. She graduated from Illinois in 2009. In this spotlight, Lally discusses what her favorite part about being a graduate student is, what aspects of philosophy have been most beneficial to her career, and what advice she would give to current students.
What is your favorite part about being a graduate student? How did you get to where you are now?
After graduating from Illinois, I went to Duke University to study philosophy and law and graduated from Duke with a JD and an MA in philosophy. I’m a generalist litigator and in-house counsel, and I’ve worked on a broad range of civil and some white collar matters (e.g., antitrust, product liability, tort, contract disputes, fraud, government investigations, etc). My work as in-house counsel involves lots of different issues outside of litigation too, like trademark law and administrative law.
My favorite part of being a litigator is a lot like my favorite parts of college and grad school: you must force yourself to learn every day. Though it can be stressful, there’s also an excitement in the challenge of tackling something different every day and figuring out how it works.
What aspects of your education as a philosophy student have been most beneficial to your career?
I think philosophical discipline is really good at creating people who care deeply about the validity and soundness of their theories and practices. I cannot think of a more crucial groundwork to the practice of law than the thoughtfulness cultivated in philosophy, both in terms of reasoning and in terms of writing. A huge part of my job consists of writing persuasively about the relationship between facts and law--I actually cannot imagine how I would have been prepared for it were it not for the exacting and amazing philosophers and mentors at Illinois and at Duke.
What advice would you give to current philosophy students about the professional realm?
I think philosophy students should find what they enjoy in philosophy and pursue it the with the same intensity and in the same way no matter what their plans are after college. Everything you’re learning in your classes is going to help you be a careful and intentional thinker and writer, and this comes in handy no matter what you end up doing. Enjoy college while it lasts!