From Advertiser to Advocate: How Advertising Prepared Me for Law School

By resident future lawyer Danielle Strollo


It’s been more than three years since I started at CLM and embarked on a career in advertising. And while I’ve enjoyed my advertising experience, I find myself unable to shake a calling I’ve considered for the past seven years: law and public policy. So in two weeks, I’m starting orientation at the University of Idaho’s College of Law in pursuit of a career as an advocate and, potentially, a public servant.

It’s intimidating to consider returning to school after 10 years of 40-hour work weeks, and law school won’t be easy. But thanks to my time as a copywriter, I’ve picked up a few skills that I think will benefit me as I prepare to start class.

1.    Writing
Nothing improves your writing more than writing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. As a copywriter, I’ve had to write for every medium, for many different audiences, and work through writer’s block when it occurred. I’ve copyedited and proofread A LOT. And I can truly say that my writing has gotten clearer, more concise, and a whole lot faster. Though the writing I’ll be doing in law school will be quite different, I’ve become pretty adept at adjusting my language to fit the assignment. So hit me with your best brief, law school!

2.    Strategic Thinking
Every time I read a creative brief, it starts a thought process that is part creative, and part strategic problem solving. What do we say, how do we say it, and what’s the ultimate goal? Effective advertising is about being in the right place at the right time with precisely the right message and nothing more to dilute its effect, all while leveraging creativity to break through the clutter. This should correlate nicely to lawyering, where I’ll have to figure out what the strategy is, then write and say exactly what I need to, and nothing more. And just like in advertising, creativity helps, if not in language, then certainly in problem solving.  

3.    Teamwork
There are lots of different types in the ad world, and it helps to be able to work with them all. When conflict arises, it’s important to be both assertive when you’re right, and amenable to criticism when you’re wrong. I’ve learned this at CLM, and I’m 100% sure I’ll be using that lesson forever.

I’m so thankful for the time I had in advertising, and for the time I’ve had with the CLM family. I hope some day our paths cross again—though maybe not in the courtroom.