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Meet Summer Associate Matthew Hilley

Meet Summer Associate Matthew Hilley

Matthew is a rising 3L at Washington University School of Law, where he serves as an executive articles editor for the Journal of Law & Policy, the vice president of the Federalist Society, and the former vice justice of Phi Alpha Delta. Previously, Matthew worked as a law clerk in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, General Litigation, and interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas. He graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Physics and History.

What made you decide to pursue law?

I thought it was the best way to satisfy my never-ending intellectual curiosity. As a lawyer, every day is a new challenge. You’re solving complex problems in an incredibly broad range of scenarios, all of which have real-world impact.

What did you learn from your experience in government service?

I gained exposure to virtually every area of law at every level. Between those two positions, I’ve now worked on civil and criminal cases in both state and federal court, at trial and on appeal. In the span of a single week, I’d jump from a murder case to securities regulation to loan fraud to employment discrimination. It was also a great way to learn from top prosecutors and accomplished government attorneys while getting plenty of exposure to federal judges and real-life courtroom dynamics. My legal writing benefited a lot from the experience, too. During my clerkship, I was able to hone my skills by drafting full briefs and motions, which were ultimately filed with minimal changes.

How did you connect with Hicks Johnson?

They were one of the firms participating in WashULaw’s summer recruiting sessions. I’d never heard the firm’s name before, which piqued my interest, as did their location (I was born and raised in Texas). When I started researching them, I was impressed: a boutique firm with big, complex cases and big firm resources. They also described their ideal candidate as someone with a thirst for trial work, which indicated their commitment to actually trying cases. Overall, I saw a vivid picture of a place where I would be able to get hands-on litigation experience.

What were your first impressions of the firm?

I was off to the races on my first day. Once I was introduced to my colleagues and shown where the kitchen was, I was at my desk drafting written discovery by noon. When I’ve compared notes to my friends working at big firms, it’s clearly a unique experience. Most of them are doing busywork, but I’m being given real, substantive assignments that challenge me—and I get to do them in an exceptionally warm and welcoming environment.

  What do you hope to get out of your time here?

I hope to continue developing the most important skills in every young lawyer’s toolbox: researching and writing. I’m also excited to get firsthand insight into the litigation life cycle, including the experience of taking a case to trial.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’d like to be a five-tool player, as they say in the baseball world: a litigator who’s able to handle a huge breadth of cases, try them to a favorable verdict, and preserve that verdict on appeal.