Gordon (J.D./M.Tx ’17) Putting Passion Into Practice
“When you’re passionate about what you do, burning the midnight oil and putting in long hours that often stretch into evenings and over weekends doesn’t feel like ‘work,’— it’s just an investment you hope you’ll get a return on,” said Meghan R. Gordon (J.D./M.Tx ’17).
Gordon’s passion for real estate and the breadth of the industry led her to pursue not only a J.D., but also a certificate in Land Use Law and a master’s in tax. She did this while clerking in the real estate practice of DLA Piper LLP and participating in extracurricular activities. Gordon served in the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, on the Moot Court Board and as vice president of the Association of Women Law Students. In addition, she was a graduate research assistant to Professor Ryan Rowberry.
Her involvement and dedication made an impression, as the CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Atlanta chapter awarded her with its 2017 Diane Cox Scholarship, which is given each year to a graduate student who excels in commercial real estate.
“We are thrilled that Meghan was chosen for this scholarship,” said Jessica Gabel Cino, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of law. “The honor is truly a testament to her hard work, passion, and talents.”
Gordon said she enjoys “everything” about real estate. “It’s fascinating to me to understand all the things a building can be or has been, and to then see how tied development is to public input and the traditional notions of notice and comment we study in our law classes – the union of those two things can be a real catalyst for equity and conscious growth,” she said.
Receiving the CREW scholarship, which also includes a yearlong membership to the invitation-only organization, is an honor, Gordon said. Accepting the award at the CREW gala April 27 felt like the convergence of the past three years of hard work while in law school, she said.
“To be giving a speech in front of all these accomplished women that I revere, and whose bios I have studied a number of times in the hopes of being them when I grow up, all the while maintaining composure and eloquence—due in large part to two years of participating in moot court!” she said. “To know I was there because of all the things I have poured myself into over the last few years —it was a great moment. It felt like I had finally arrived.”
Gordon’s choice to maintain a presence on campus was in part influenced by many of the faculty, alumni and guest speakers in her law classes. They encouraged students to make the most of law school by being involved, Gordon said, and fostered a supportive environment as well as a pipeline to alumni in her field whom she could consult on a collegial level.
“I am forever grateful for having meaningful interactions with faculty who knew my name, who knew what I was pursuing, knew what moot court competitions I was in, could point me to a means of obtaining a finance and tax understanding that is so critical to the industry – those small communal factors that are inherent to how Georgia State Law nurtures young lawyers are critical to success,” Gordon said. “Further, having a dean who also knew my name and would engage in conversations with me about my activities in the elevator — I don’t think you find that at many law schools.”
Georgia State does an outstanding job of ensuring nontradition students can be successful while enabling them to define what that success looks like, Gordon said.
“For me, success was always greater than my numerical reduction to a GPA,” she said. “Success was also making a concerted effort to dedicate three years to seize on all the opportunities I was fortunate enough to receive, and be certain that when I walked across the stage at graduation I knew definitively where I wanted to be in legal field — and how I was going to get there.”
Working while a full-time student provided Gordon a unique perspective on service to the industry, especially with respect to her work in the tax clinic, where she could immediately put advocacy into practice.
“At the firm, I reported to partners and associates on deals that were millions of dollars in scope, meanwhile I was also tasked with running point on cases and being the client contact for my nonpaying clinic clients with a few thousand dollars in controversy,” Gordon said. “To be on both ends of spectrum like that not only kept me grounded, but ensured that when I was client-facing and the stakes were higher in sum, I felt more like a seasoned associate than a deer caught in headlights.”
These experiences helped her understand what expectations would be once she graduated, and gave her tools to become the type of lawyer she wants to be, Gordon said.
“I think the best lawyer I can be is a compassionate one who will continue to fight for the interests of the economically disadvantaged, while leveraging my real estate experience and this wonderful new network I have in the women of CREW to get to work on meaningfully contributing to the legal field,” she said.