Trisha Rich has remained involved with Michigan Law as a dedicated volunteer since she graduated in 2005, even serving as co-chair of her alumni reunion committee for her five-, 10-, and 15-year milestones.
“I love the education I received and the doors that Michigan Law has opened for me,” says Rich. “But the most important things I take from Ann Arbor are the dozens of important, tangible, real relationships with people I very much care about, 15 years after we’ve left campus. I made some of the most important friends in my life at Michigan Law.”
Rich also has a history of giving at the Law School, recently committing to a monthly, recurring gift and previously documenting a significant bequest for her alma mater. “I am a first generation college student who grew up in the Thumb of Michigan,” she says. “One of the things that really matters to me is knowing my gifts help people like me, kids who grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and are trying to get a strong education and do something different with their lives.”
Her ongoing connections to Michigan Law classmates have helped drive Rich’s continued volunteerism and philanthropy. “I felt I should set a good example for my classmates, and I think that the administration is in the best position to know where they need to deploy resources, so I make my gifts to the discretionary Law School Fund,” she says.
Now a partner at Holland & Knight who alternates between the firm’s Chicago and New York offices, Rich has worked to carve out her own niche, representing lawyers, law firms, and legal departments “on all sorts of things where a lawyer would need to hire a lawyer.” This practice has allowed Rich to tap into her background in philosophy and follow her passion for ethics.
Although she didn’t know this career path was possible when she was in law school, Rich clearly enjoys what she does. “It’s easy for me to put myself in the shoes of my clients and see exactly how they made an error,” she says. “Being a lawyer is so much a part of our identity that when your professional judgment or your license is called into question, it can be devastating. I really enjoy working with other attorneys and helping them when they get into trouble—I am a defender of lawyers at heart.”