Any student who ever wondered if law school was worth it need only listen to S. Jenell Trigg. The 1997 alumna of the Columbus School of Law and current member of its Board of Visitors delivered an inspiring set of remarks to students and faculty members on March 20 as the honored guest speaker at an alumni-student reception held by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).
Trigg’s insightful blend of life and career advice to the audience could be distilled to, “it’s never too late to go after what you want.” Her own life, which she discussed at some length, is a prime example.
After graduating as a theater major from Northwestern University, Trigg first tried her hand as a professional stage actor. Eventually, she moved into broadcast sales and marketing in Chicago, a lucrative career that lasted for 16 years. However, dynamic changes in the broadcast industry eventually convinced her that a graduate degree was necessary to continue to thrive professionally.
“I do a self-evaluation of my life every 5 years – on the 0s and on the 5s. A ‘what do I want to be when I grow up’ introspective,” Trigg shared. So at the age of 35, she buckled down, studied hard for the LSAT, applied and was accepted into Catholic University’s evening law program.
Despite her trepidations about tackling a law degree later in life, Trigg was a standout student coming back into the classroom life after a 15-year hiatus. She was a member of the 1997 First Place team for the Third Annual FCBA National Telecommunications Law Moot Court Competition, and served as Lead Articles Editor for CommLaw Conspectus Journal of Law and Policy.
“I loved law school and in particular, I have loved this law school. I will forever be grateful for the encouragement and support of my legal education and career from persons in this building – from the maintenance staff to the dean,” Trigg recalled. “Nowhere else will you receive the nurturing and care that our faculty and staff provide. But although I loved law school, attending and graduating from it is one of the hardest things I have ever done.”
It was an investment in herself that paid off. Today, Trigg is recognized as among the preeminent communications attorneys in the country. She is a Member of Lerman Senter PLLC and chairs the firm’s Intellectual Property and New Technology Practice Group. In addition, Trigg specializes in privacy and data security issues, as well as intellectual property concerns, and government regulation of the Internet and new technologies.
She is also a recognized authority on small and minority telecommunications business issues from an industry, regulatory, and legislative perspective, and works with the FCC’s Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age as a subject matter expert and a member of the Funding Acquisition Taskforce.
Her long list of professional accomplishments, recognitions and affiliations spring from a healthy credo for living.
Drawing upon lessons she learned from examples set by her mother and grandmother, Trigg said that she has tried to live by six fundamental rules that have served her well: Dream big, invest in yourself, persevere, take chances, make a difference, and last but not least, celebrate each step of the journey.
“And I am still on a journey. I am getting ready for my 60th birthday. Who knows what the future will bring. But whatever it is—I’m ready,” she concluded to applause.
The evening’s program was conducted by three speakers in addition to S. Jenell Trigg: Dean Daniel F. Attridge, Candice Canteen, evening vice president of BLSA, and Lawrence Laws, BLSA president.