Today's alumni interview comes from junior Olivia Omundson.
I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Chad Finley, a successful attorney and alumnus from BHHS class of 2004. I was able to ask Mr. Finley about his job and high school experience.
How did you discover you wanted to become an Attorney?
I graduated during the recession, and there weren’t a lot of great job opportunities for young college graduates. I was looking at options for graduate school, and law school seemed the best fit for my interests and abilities.
Did anything at Bismarck-Henning High School influence your decision to become an Attorney?
Absolutely. I developed a love for reading and writing at Bismarck. At least ninety percent of being a lawyer is reading and writing. The arguing, questioning of witnesses, being in Court, etc. make up less than ten percent of what I do. My English and literature classes were a huge influence in deciding to become a lawyer.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Learning everything about a subject and then getting to question witnesses. For example, my first case out of law school was against a pharmaceutical company called Takeda. We alleged that their product was causing bladder cancer. The pharmaceutical company produced over 50 million documents. My job was to go through all their emails, documents, etc. and learn everything there was to learn about the company, the product, and bladder cancer. My favorite part of the job is putting the pieces of the puzzle back together and figuring out what happened. My favorite part of a case is looking for and finding the needle in the haystack that the company hoped no one would ever find. In that case we found important studies and information that were withheld from the FDA and the public. Then we got to question the witnesses who made the decisions to conceal that information and hold them accountable.
What was your favorite class at Bismarck-Henning High School?
Biology was and is my favorite subject. However, the most useful class for me was college prep English.
Do you have any advice for current students of Bismarck-Henning Rossville-Alvin Cooperative High School?
Read and learn how to really learn. Memorizing information is great for tests, but most jobs require you to learn new tasks, develop skills, and solve issues/problems in different ways and not just memorize information. Analyzing information, thinking critically, planning, and addressing issues is easier with a broad knowledge base. My boss always says that “if you are just a hammer every problem will be a nail.” Take a variety of subjects, even some that you aren’t interested in, because different perspectives, skills, and knowledge can fill your toolbox with more than just a hammer.