Elizabeth Rice '09

Growing up in a family of lawyers - her mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather were all attorneys - Elizabeth Rice ’09 seemed destined for the practice of law.

Instead, she pursued art at Wilson College, but after having difficulty finding a graduate-level studio art program, Elizabeth found herself eyeing a legal career after all.

Now a student at Vermont Law School, where she expects to graduate in May, Elizabeth has her sights set on the entertainment industry. She plans to specialize in copyright law, which she sees as a way to combine her interest in the arts and entertainment with a legal career.

“I would love to work with a content creator like a movie studio, record label or art institution, and essentially be their copyright clearance counsel,” Elizabeth said. “It would be my job to make their ideas happen and to make sure all the legal bases are covered.”

But her ambitions don’t stop there. Elizabeth is also interested in national and international copyright policy, and some day would like to work in the U.S. Copyright Office, helping shape copyright policy and law for the future.

A native of Baltimore, Elizabeth graduated from Wilson in just three years, earning a bachelor's degree in studio art in 2009. She is the first Wilson graduate to enter Vermont Law School by taking advantage of a four-year-old articulation agreement between Wilson and VLS.

"I was applying to studio art graduate programs, but I found that most programs did not want me because I am a charcoal artist," Elizabeth said. "Those programs really only consider drawing as a preliminary step to painting, and so I would not be able to make a graduate degree out of drawing alone."

As she began contemplating other options, Elizabeth’s mother suggested applying for law school and she came to embrace the idea. “I like law because it is a vehicle for making things happen,” Elizabeth said. “It applies to all areas of life and it can be used as a great tool for change. I also like that it protects the rights of people and gives people a way to stand up for what they believe in.”

Elizabeth, who was one of the graduating members of the Wilson College Honors Program, credits Wilson with preparing her for law school. "Wilson College gave me the personal strength and quality of creativity that most law students do not have,” she said. “Also, Wilson allowed me to have the comfort of more options for law school via its partnership with Vermont Law School.”

Under the articulation agreement, Wilson students who meet the entrance requirements are admitted to VLS automatically.

While attending VLS, Elizabeth has completed two internships – one at a sports apparel company where she did general practice and litigation preparation, and another with Coppin State University in Baltimore, where she was an intern for both the legal affairs attorney and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) compliance officer.

Elizabeth expects to take the bar exam in July in her home state of Maryland and plans to look for a position with an entertainment firm in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.