Gerry Griffith

2020 | Louisville, KY

Indiana University | English & Computer Science

“The decision to join the military was really a turning point for me. I came back to college and basically turned my entire academic life around.”

Gerry Griffith, ’20, once pictured himself following in his mother’s footsteps, who was a teacher in the small town where he was raised. Instead, Griffith’s journey brought him from rural Kentucky to Indiana to mid-Michigan – and will next lead him to Kansas City, Missouri, doing corporate finance work.

He started out at Indiana University pursuing a degree in English, but discovered quickly that he wasn’t prepared to succeed as a college student. Convinced that he needed to find personal discipline and initiative, Griffith joined the Army National Guard working with information technology systems. This spurred his interest in computer science and IT, and would eventually inspire him to enroll in the JD-MBA program at MSU Law. “The decision to join the military was really a turning point for me,” he said. “I came back to college and basically turned my entire academic life around.”

His military experience taught him resilience, drive, and gave him a ‘keep your eye on the prize’ mentality, which aided him in his return to the classroom. Griffith said he felt prepared overall to take on the challenges presented by a graduate degree program, despite initially being intimidated by parts of the experience, including a particularly memorable first-year Contracts class with Professor Daniel Barnhizer. “He was pretty intense, but I actually ended up doing really well in that class,” Griffith said. “I took another class with him after that and I ended up working for him during my 2L year.” 

As a student, especially in a dual degree program pursuing two graduate studies simultaneously, Griffith never wasted a moment. He interned in both the business and legal sectors, got involved with entrepreneurship organizations, took on Law Review responsibilities, and served as a student clinician and teaching assistant at the Law College on more than one occasion. The summer before his 3L year, he interned with Stinson LLP in their corporate finance group and worked on cases with some of the firm’s major clients. “It kept me engaged,” he said. “I felt like all of my skills were utilized.”

That’s one of the qualities that attracted Griffith to securities regulation: the opportunity to put all of his skills to work. He first fell in love with the practice during Securities Regulation taught by Professor Elliot Spoon. “Securities Regulation for me was the most challenging class. It’s such an intricate topic,” he explained. “I really feel like it’s something I can leave the office every single day feeling fulfilled that I’ve used all of my capabilities in solving problems.”

His passion for the practice area was evident in his work ethic at Stinson LLP, and his desire to enter that arena upon graduation motivated him to put in everything he had. He secured a position at Stinson LLP in Kansas City, Missouri, as an associate attorney in the corporate finance division, and he’ll start in 2020.