Tools of Advocacy, Research, and Persuasion Honed at UMW

Every day, Ben Franklin ‘06 realizes his lifelong desire to work in law at the Boston firm of McDermott Will & Emery. In May, Franklin was part of a successful appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He also serves as president of the Boston UMW Alumni Network.

The path that led Ben Franklin ’06 to a career in law started out when he was just a kid growing up in Danbury, Conn. In high school, he took part in a mock-trial program and interned at a local law firm to see if he liked the work, and he did. “Law is one of those things I wanted to do ever since I was in elementary school,” Franklin said. Coming to Mary Washington turned out to be a good step toward that goal. Franklin, 27, picked UMW because he wanted a smaller liberal arts college with a good history department. He also wanted a school far enough away from home to allow him what he called “that true college experience.” What he learned in his four years at Mary Washington helped lay the foundation for his chosen career. Franklin got involved in the University’s Debate Program, where he honed his skills in advocacy and oral persuasion. In his classes, Franklin said, the close interaction with faculty taught him about researching and writing. That one-on-one work with … [Read more...]

Honor Council Inspired a Career in Defense

Nellie King ’92, shown here with husband Carl Schaefer, son George, and daughter Virginia, was sworn in as president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers this summer. King holds the volunteer position, equivalent in demands to a full-time job, along with her career as a defense lawyer. She is driven to protect the rights of the accused, a passion nurtured on the Mary Washington Honor Council.

As a member of the Mary Washington Honor Council for four years, Nellie King ’92 heard allegations of cheating, theft, and academic misconduct. These days, her cases are more likely to involve allegations of drunk driving, rape, and even murder. But King, a defense lawyer for 15 years, said her early experience at UMW primed her for the high-profile work she does now. “What I experienced at Mary Washington was an environment that allowed me to ask questions and to challenge situations, and that was a natural transition for me to go to law school,” said King, a married mother of two who lives in Palm Beach County, Fla. “I’ve been asking questions and filing motions – much to the chagrin of prosecutors in my state – ever since.” King recently was elected president of the nonprofit Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The FACDL provides continuing legal education and professional networking for its 2,000 members, champions the constitutional rights of criminal … [Read more...]

Marketing Guru Guides Clients Through Social Media

At his marketing and new media firm Madison+Main, Dave Saunders ’90 uses online applications like Twitter and Facebook to help companies grow. The chief idea officer and president of the multimillion-dollar business said his liberal arts education taught him to think big.

Even before he became part of it, Dave Saunders ’90 had a feel for the business world and the social scene that supports it. When he graduated from the University of Mary Washington, he said, it was common for colleagues to gather on Monday morning to chat about the weekend or share wallet-sized photos of their kids. “Today we don’t share it with two or three people around the water cooler, we share it with 500 friends on Facebook,” Saunders said. “We live in the information age, but we’re not all cognizant of how information is accessed and disseminated.” Saunders makes it his job to know – and he helps small and midsize companies navigate that fast-paced, quickly changing world. As president, founder, and chief idea officer at Madison+Main, a marketing and new media firm with offices in Richmond and Virginia Beach, Saunders is considered an expert in the field. When he started the firm in 2005, he saw potential in smaller companies and opportunity in emerging media. … [Read more...]

Archivist Focuses on Presidential Pictures

In 1995, President Bill Clinton asked to hold Philips’ son, Will, outside the West Wing, and the rest is photo history. Philips hopes that Will, who is 16, will carry on the Mary Washington tradition started by her mother, Bobbie Hough McConnell ’48. Photo by Bob McNeely

  Janet McConnell Philips ’77 got one of the first glimpses of the iconic White House image captured inside the Situation Room May 1: President Barack Obama, mouth tense, face full of consternation, sits amid his national security team awaiting news from Abbottabad, Pakistan. A photograph taken later that evening shows the president in the East Room. The tension is gone. He is in mid-speech. Osama bin Laden, hunted for a decade, is dead, he announces. Philips sifts through the thousands of daily photographs captured by four White House staff photographers who document a presidency. Some are mundane. Some, like this one, are monumental. Philips takes utmost care with each of them. As the White House photo archivist, she is on the front lines of the record books. She writes the captions and preserves them for the ages. Philips has held this role through five administrations, beginning with Ronald Reagan in 1988. Her road to the White House began at Mary … [Read more...]