Stacey Pietrowicz ’02 on Finding Fruitful Futures with Philosophy

“A philosophy degree is anything but useless,” advocates Stacey Pietrowicz ’02. On the contrary, Pietrowicz has put her majors in philosophy and psychology to good use in both practical and versatile ways. She is currently a partner and one of five principal attorneys at a civil litigation law firm in Boston, MA. Her legal focus is personal injury law, which aims to represent individuals and the families of individuals who need a voice in the civil justice system. She was initially drawn to psychology because of her persistent interest in the “why?” behind everything. Once she took a course in philosophy, she played with the idea of going to law school because of its linear and logical character. Now having earned her J.D. and pursued a career as an attorney, Pietrowicz credits her success to her liberal arts education in URI’s College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). She highlights small class sizes, dedicated professors, the ability to find your niche, and academic excellence as being key to her experience.

The skills she gained from her philosophy degree in particular constitute the type of skills she needed to practice law: “The discipline of philosophy taught me reading and writing skills that were unparalleled for what was to come in law school,” she says. “Those exercises are the exact skills that you need to be an attorney, be persuasive, concise, and not take a ton of time to do that.” Pietrowicz also emphasizes the importance of having learned to organize her thoughts and articulate exactly what she wants to say. She believes in the versatility of her degree, noting: “For anyone considering a career in teaching, law, or human sciences — it’s logic, analytical thinking, and oral and writing skills that are pretty much the things that are going to get you far in life.” For Pietrowicz, this is “foundational learning for almost anything.”

Thinking toward the future, Pietrowicz has already accomplished many milestones, including having been a partner at a firm for five years now, just thirteen years out of law school. “I don’t know that I want to be a litigator until I’m sixty-five,” she says, but notes that the versatile nature of her degrees means that she can comfortably keep her options open. “The education I received at URI has given me the foundations and the belief and courage to be able to pivot someday to something related or even different,” she says. “What I have done here has prepared me to think that I can do a complete change in career if I want to.”

~Written by Sabrinna Fogarty