It is no accident that so many business, civic, and political leaders are attorneys by trade. In this series, we will highlight dynamic leaders who are using the tools they gained through law school to impact the world and show you the inherent value of learning to think like a lawyer. Today’s feature is on Matthew Morris.
What is your mission and what do you do?
I serve as Legislative Director for Governor Brian Sandoval. The Governor is committed to promoting the growth and prosperity of what he refers to as the “New Nevada,” which is a mission achieved by pursuing strategic priorities of building safe and livable communities, developing and diversifying a vibrant and sustainable economy, empowering an educated and healthy citizenry, and leading a state government that is efficient and responsive to the needs of all Nevadans. As Legislative Director, my role is to ensure that the Governor’s legislative agenda is executed successfully in furtherance of the strategic priorities outlined above, and to manage the legislative operations of the Governor’s office in collaboration with the State Legislature, Executive Branch agencies, and other community stakeholders, constituencies, and partners.
What inspires you to do this work?
Public service is in my DNA. The opportunity to identify and develop real solutions to challenges that affect the lives of everyday people is something that continues to inspire, challenge, and motivate me. Serving in the Governor’s office provides this opportunity on a daily basis. Governor Sandoval’s vision for Nevada, his commitment to service, and his unyielding leadership have not only expanded my perspective on how to find and work toward solutions that help Nevadans, but have also reinforced my belief in the potential for making a meaningful difference in my community through public service. The Governor often challenges his staff to be involved in public service “To DO something, not to BE something.” I continue to aspire to that notion.
How did your legal training and/or law school experience prepare you to tackle the significant issues your organization is tackling?
I am so blessed to have had the chance to attend and graduate from the Boyd School of Law, where I was surrounded by brilliant classmates (including my good friend and thinkLaw Founder, Colin Seale) and dedicated professors who challenged me to work hard and be the best student I could be.
The education and experiences I gained while studying at Boyd have been invaluable resources for me in a variety of roles in public service so far, from speechwriting, to policy research and analysis, to constituent outreach and community engagement. If I were to highlight two particular features of my legal training that have been especially beneficial, the first would be the heightened exposure to different points of view and the ability to appreciate opposing arguments, which are sort of fundamental to legal reasoning and a huge part of what we learn in law school.
Understanding and appreciating multiple viewpoints and perspectives, particularly those that may be different from or even in opposition to my own, are essential to finding and building consensus, especially within the context of crafting legislation and policy solutions. The second feature of my Boyd experience I’ve found to be extremely important is the training we received at Boyd in legal writing, which often involves communicating complex, sometimes sophisticated or difficult concepts or points in a way that is clear, concise, and informative to the audience.
Every piece of legislation that is approved by Nevada’s elected representatives must ultimately go to the Governor’s desk for final action, which means that a significant part of our role involves reading and synthesizing a lot of information on a vast array of topics. The heavy emphasis that Boyd Law places on developing strong legal research and writing skills continues to be immensely helpful to me in managing our office’s legislative operations. These, and many other aspects of my Boyd Law experience, have been exceedingly rewarding and beneficial to me so far in my career.
To learn more about Matthew Morris, follow on Twitter!
Click here to read our feature on Aaron Walker of Camelback Ventures.
To learn how your school or organization can adopt thinkLaw’s standards-aligned program that helps educators teach critical thinking to all students, please click here to schedule a time to speak with someone on the thinkLaw team, call us now at (702) 318-7512 or join us on our next webinar; Thinking Like a Lawyer: Power Strategies to Teach Critical Thinking to All Students