Trevor Mason

2020 | San Antonio, TX

University of the Incarnate Word | American Government and Politics

“I had one idea of what I wanted to do at the end. In three years, that changed multiple times, but it changed for the better.”

As a former collegiate football player, Trevor Mason, ’20, brought his athletic background to a new type of field: law. 

With passion for the sport, experience working in athletic compliance for his undergraduate university, and a master’s degree in sports management, Mason initially planned for a legal career in college athletics and compliance. 

Raised in Texas, Mason originally considered staying in the Lone Star state, but his father – a Detroit native and dedicated Spartan fan – encouraged him to “Go Green” when looking into where he would pursue his legal education. And upon visiting MSU Law, Mason said it was the “best decision for me.” 

He got involved at the Law College through the International Law Review, Moot Court, and more. Mason also joined the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) as a first-year student, and he later became the organization’s president during his 3L year. 

“BLSA was a great tool,” Mason said. “I had great mentors helping me to navigate the first year of law school. One of my mentors, Chelsea Austin (’19), helped me to get my job in the athletic department at MSU and was instrumental in helping me at each step of the way.”

Coming from his private alma mater in San Antonio, Mason described the scale at which the level of athletics operates at a Big Ten school as vastly different. He held the position with MSU Athletics through his final year at the Law College, managing tasks like player eligibility and athletes’ time logs. However, with passing time and other experiences, Mason’s career goals had shifted. 

Law school exposed him to corporate, intellectual property, and labor and employment law. With internships and various courses in these areas on his resume by his final year, Mason decided to pursue a role in the corporate sector, landing him at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in the Grand Rapids firm’s Corporate Practice Group.

“Business is such an important aspect of American life,” Mason said. “Being able to go into a corporate practice, I’m going to learn intellectual property, labor and employment, contracts, and all aspects of the law.” 

For Mason, business is what he called the “common denominator” between his many interests, and he believes that he couldn’t have landed in a better place. “In law school, you learn what you like, and you learn what you don’t like,” he said. “If you want to be in this profession, you have to like what you’re doing.”

He advises others entering law school to be adventurous with their legal education and to be open to experiences that you otherwise might not have thought to pursue, because – like him – it may inspire you to venture in a new direction. “I had one idea of what I wanted to do at the end. In three years, that changed multiple times, but it changed for the better. I was not familiar with law before I started law school, so I went into it saying: ‘let me have an open mind.’ By doing that, I found the right opportunity, because I didn’t close myself off,” he explained. “You absolutely never know what opportunity will be afforded to you.”