Stephanie Schnelz, '12
Trott & Trott P.C. - Corporate Counsel
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Hometown: Milford, Michigan
Previous Education: Humanities Pre-Law
Why did you choose Michigan State Law for your legal education?
Not only had MSU College of Law’s reputation been on the rise, I felt familiar with the City of East Lansing and the MSU community. I was offered a full academic scholarship to attend MSU Law that required only a 3.25 to remain eligible, whereas other scholarships I had been offered required a 3.5 or higher. In addition, my grandfather and my father attended Detroit College of Law, and I valued carrying on the family tradition.
What aspects of your legal education best prepared you for the practice of law?
Classes and professors that taught me how to “think like a lawyer” were most beneficial. The real world has nothing to do with Pennoyer v Neff. It was those classes in which there was practical, direct instruction that have stayed with me. I genuinely use the knowledge I gained in my contracts class on a weekly basis. I also think the seemingly overwhelming feeling of being in law school and trying to survive prepared me to handle some of the highs and lows of working in a big firm.
What advice would you offer someone who is thinking about a career in law?
Not only does a legal education teach you to retrain your brain, but frankly speaking, succeeding in law school separates the “boys from the men.” It is difficult, stressful, and it will change you forever. But it is one thing that you can sincerely take complete credit for. There is no one to answer the essays on the exam but you, no group work, and really no sympathy from those around you when you don’t put in the effort. It is truly a mental and emotional battle, but the feeling of personal triumph cannot be measured.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I would have to say the level of respect I have earned from my colleagues and the pride I take in calling myself a lawyer (almost licensed). I work with some brilliant people, and I can pick their brain at my leisure.
Tell us about a personal accomplishment that you achieved outside of law school.
I entered a new relationship at the beginning of law school, and I am currently planning our wedding. I managed to stay friends with everyone from college. I stayed healthy, fit, and relatively sane. I was in the top of my class, graduated with high honors, and stopped homework every day before 5 p.m. and didn’t study on weekends save for an occasional Sunday night.