Pre-law alumnus Tim McHugh first began his undergraduate career at Appalachian State University in 2001. However, after 9/11 he left Appalachian to serve in the U.S. Army.
McHugh served for over five years and was deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
“(It) gave me the unique opportunity to see what happens to a country when the rule of law does not exist or is corrupted by those in power,” McHugh said.
“I came to appreciate how the law touches every aspect of our daily lives in the United States – how we deal with each other, how we deal with the government, and how the government deals with us – and by extension, how our nation is defined by the world. I wanted to be a part of that system, to do my part to ensure its continued existence and to assist others in navigating through it.”
He returned to Appalachian and pursued the Pre-professional Legal Studies degree and prepared for law school admissions, including the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
“The LSAT is all about logic and many of my courses at Appalachian prepared me for that by forcing me to think logically, critically and analytically,” McHugh said.
McHugh eventually graduated from Appalachian in spring 2011 with a Political Science (BS) - Pre-Professional Legal Studies degree and began his first year of law school, often referred to as 1L, at Washington University the following fall.
“Appalachian prepared me for law school by giving me a thorough grounding in several subjects that every first-year law student must study, namely constitutional law and criminal law,” McHugh said. “That was very important to me because 1L year is the most important and is typically the toughest.”
Now an associate at Hunton & Williams law firm in Richmond, Virginia, McHugh practices environmental and administrative law, with an emphasis on compliance, enforcement and litigation.
He said his Appalachian education has helped him know how to approach situations, acknowledging that there is more than one viewpoint and how to appreciate opposing views.
“I think that respecting conflicting viewpoints, on their merits, makes me a better lawyer on a daily basis,” McHugh said. “If you are blinded by your own argument, you cannot see the merit in others’ arguments, or flaws in your own thinking, and opportunities to find common ground and quick resolutions can be missed.”
Tim McHugh ’11 is an associate at Hunton & Williams law firm in Richmond, Virginia. He attended law school at Washington University.