Lawyers Outline Legal Career Options

Photo of a lawyer talking to a jury in the courtroom, with judge in background.

Five lawyers serving in public agencies and private practices in Texas talked about the trials and tribulations of their profession during Career Week at the Criminal Justice Center.

William Lee Hon, Polk County District Attorney
William Lee Hon, Polk County District Attorney
“There has been nothing more rewarding in my life than being a prosecuting attorney for the state of Texas,” said William Lee Hon (’87), Criminal District Attorney for Polk County. “It’s the ability to feel a sense of self worth in making a difference in the community. It’s a great thing to represent the voice of the victim and the voice of child abuse victims.”

While Hon presented the case for the prosecution, other speakers offered the defense view of the bar or other types of practices available, such as bankruptcy, immigration law and civil commitments.

Rebecca Fleming, State Counsel for Offenders.
Rebecca Fleming, State Counsel for Offenders.
“This is someone’s son, father, or brother,” said Rebecca Fleming (’99) of the State Counsel for Offenders, which represents sex offenders at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in civil commitment hearings. “This is a human being, and I am going to represent them to the best of my ability. I do believe in the Constitution and the constitutional right to a fair trial. It’s a justice system and if I don’t believe in justice, it’s just a system."

Adam Wyatt Dietrich spent five years working with a Conroe criminal defense attorney, with the first six months dedicated to a death penalty case, before going to law school . Now he is in private practice handling family law, including divorce, custody and Child Protective Service cases.

“Working on CPS cases is rewarding, but you don’t do it for the money,” Dietrich said.

Audrey Biggar said she has found a way to balance career and family in her job as an immigration lawyer. Most of her work is done over the phone with clients in this country or others.

“It is very paper intensive,” said Biggar.

Andrew Bolton, Huntsville Bankruptcy Lawyer
Andrew Bolton, Huntsville Bankruptcy Lawyer
Huntsville attorney Andrew Bolton said he living proof that you don’t always have to be at the top of your class to get into law school. In high school, Bolton got low grades because he failed to apply himself and he later did a stint in the Army. He applied to Brigham Young University through an open enrollment program by joining a mission trip (that program no longer exists). After working hard and excelling in law school in earning his degree, he opened a law practice in Tomball. After his divorce, he moved to Huntsville, where he operates a private practice specializing in bankruptcy.

The attorneys described law school alternatively as “some of the most fun times ” and “very intense.” They also agree that the three-day bar exam is among the toughest experiences in their lives.

To get through law school, Fleming recommends joining a study group, reading intensely, getting a mentor, talking to professors and being brave. Despite a career as a teacher, Fleming said law school was not easy.

“I knew I wasn’t going to breeze through law school,” said Fleming. “It was intellectually stimulating. It is very intensive, but it prepares you for what you will be doing later:”

Dietrich said experience in the legal field helped him prepare for the rigors of study. “You have to learn to apply the law to the facts,” Dietrich said.

Audrey Biggar, Immigration Attorney
Audrey Biggar, Immigration Attorney
Rhonda Vickers Beassie, Attorney and Director of Student Legal Services at Sam Houston State University, said her door is open to students who want to learn more about law school or the legal profession. Her office is located in the Lowman Student Center Room 330.

Whatever legal path a student pursues, Fleming said it is a worthwhile career.

“It’s a good job and it’s very interesting,” Fleming said. “There is never a dull moment and there is always something different. You love it, you hate it, you laugh and you cry. It’s all worth it.”

Member of The Texas State University System