Shellie Reid

2020 | Chantilly, VA

Eastern Kentucky University | Police Administration

For some law students, going to law school was always the plan; for others, it’s an opportunity that comes later in life. For Shellie Reid, ’20, it was both. 

“It was the plan – 30 years ago,” Reid said with a laugh, explaining that between her husband’s position with the Navy, which moved them frequently, raising children, and other unexpected life factors, the time to go to law school just wasn’t there. 

But once her children were grown and in college themselves, Reid realized that the dream hadn’t gone away – and the time was now.   

When researching and applying to law schools, she found support online through webinars and resources offered by MSU College of Law. 

“At the time I had no intention of applying to Michigan State,” Reid confessed. But after a visit to campus, and despite the distance it would put between her and her family in their home state of Virginia, she decided to take the chance, “Everything just felt right about Michigan,” she said.

While her law school dream had stood the test of time, her outlook of what kind of career would stem from it had changed. With experience working alongside law enforcement, she wanted to help people and keep the system balanced, so she thought she’d become a public defender. It wasn’t until she started law school that the plan changed once again. 

Through MSU Law programs, including the Center for Law, Technology, and Innovation, Reid learned about areas of the law that she hadn’t known existed. “Technology is always something that I’ve been interested in, so finding out that it was something I could go into was very exciting,” she explained.

“My heart is with legal aid and if I can bring technology into it that would be the perfect fit for me,” she said. “I realized that building technology that legal aid organizations can use would have a much greater impact than me serving as an attorney for legal aid organizations.” 

Keeping her mind wide open, Reid took on law school and everything it had to offer. Completing externships, attending networking events, leading the LegalLaunchPad student group, developing practical skills through diverse courses, and even challenging her introverted nature through MSU Law’s annual Social Media Competition. 

She kept the mantra of just living in the moment and seizing it top of mind as she navigated her legal education. Law school is stressful, and she knows that, but she also knows it can be harder if you don’t find proper balance.

“If your focus is completely on law school, you’re not living. And maybe that’s the perspective of having some life behind me,” she said. “I had a couple-year period where I was working nights for a police department and then going home to homeschool my kids and then trying to grab two or three hours of sleep before I went back to work. I don’t remember anything from that time period. That’s no way to look back on life.”

The law school experience isn’t the same from one student to the next, everyone faces their own obstacles along the way and set their path toward a unique outcome; and, like it was for Reid, the journey to get to law school can be equally unique. “You don’t have to be the cookie cutter law student. Because we’re not,” she said. “We’re all different.”