Apr 07, 2022
Leah Cole Durst ’17: Associate Attorney
After I graduated from Colby in 2017, I moved to Boston and started law school at Northeastern University School of Law that fall! I graduated in May of 2020, took the bar, and started initially practicing in Boston with Greater Boston Legal Services doing COVID Eviction Defense for low-income tenants. At the end of my contract with GBLS, I started my current role as an Associate Attorney with Shaheen & Gordon, P.A. in Concord, NH doing Criminal Defense. My job is different every day, sometimes doing extensive research and writing, sometimes negotiating with prosecutors or opposing counsel, and sometimes arguing in court. I love how dynamic it is.
Being an English major helped immensely. In fact, the essay I wrote when I applied to law school was about how closely I aligned poetry and the law – how both used structure, form, specific language, interpretation, nuance, and argumentation to create persuasive narratives about something important. This remains a closely held belief. Being an English major at Colby helped inform close reading, strong analytical skills, and effective writing. It also sharpened my creative thinking, willingness to innovate within something confined, and ability to view issues through multiple critical lenses.
My post-grad life perspective is narrow because I went to grad school straight away, but if you are a current student interested in the law, I would advise a few things. Interrogate what’s exciting to you about the law and hold on to that, but be open to the possibility of changing your opinions, ideas about the world, and goals for yourself. You’re not married to what you set out to do. Also, keep reading fiction and keep reading poetry. It will bolster both your writing and your capacity for joy.