Tera Rica Murdock is a partner in the litigation group at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP, Nashville’s second-largest law firm. Murdock turns to creative problem solving to get through tough situations.
When you were in college, did you see yourself where you are today?
I did not! In college, I was a double major in chemistry and Spanish and planned to be a chemist. I had the chance to work in a biochemistry lab over the school year and during the summer while I was an undergraduate at Murray State University. I enjoyed working with my professor, and we were successful in our research. I was even a co-author of an article in a peer-reviewed journal, "Biochemistry." But the day-to-day workings of a lab are isolating, and even though I’m an introvert, I’m an introvert who likes people. I met with my adviser and confessed this concern about how this lack of social interaction might impact how happy I would be during a career. My adviser asked, "What do you like about being in the lab?" I answered: planning our approach to a problem, forward-thinking about the potential risks and alternatives, writing up the results of our experiments, and presenting at conferences. My adviser mused, “sounds like what a lawyer does.” With that seed planted, I took the LSAT, did well and accepted admission to Vanderbilt University Law School. Being a partner at a law firm is an entirely different role than my college vision of being a chemist. But, I’ve found that my adviser’s insight rang true. Read more.