Successful Berklee Alumni #220: Matt Byron

Matt Byron
Listen to the interview or download it.

Graduated in 2016 with majors in Music Business and Performance. Principal instrument: upright bass.

Position: Associate Attorney at MGC (McAngus, Goudelock, and Courie), a multi-state law firm that specializes in insurance defense. For example, when there is a car or industrial accident MGC is hired by the insurance company to argue in court, when applicable, that the client (the insured) was not at fault. Matt works in the Nashville office as one of thirteen attorneys (plus 20 support staff), but the firm is headquarted in South Carolina.

Overview: Professor George Howard’s Copyright Law class resulted in Matt being determined to become an attorney. He took the LSATs in 2015 and was applying to law schools during his last semester at Berklee, spring 2016. That fall he started at Belmont University Law School in Nashville, hoping to go into entertainment law. While in law school, Matt networked and met folks in the music industry, but it didn’t lead to a job.

A friend who had graduated the year before recommended Matt for a 4-month law clerk position at a small law firm–designed for folks who have graduated law school but have not yet passed the bar exam (which happens a few months after law school.). Mtat took that position after graduating in the spring of 2019. After that position ended Matt took and passed the bar exam. Then that same friend was hired at a different company, and Matt was offered and took her old job. He worked there for nearly two years, but wanted to work at a larger, better-paying place. Another friend from law school recommended him for his current position, which he started in the fall of 2021.
You can see Matt’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “I really didn’t discover this career until law school. But I always thought of myself as being analytical and logical. Being a lawyer is about analyzing facts, i’ts like solving a puzzle–each case is a bit different and fit the facts to the law. I like to argue in a respectful way. It’s fun to go to court, present your case to a judge, interact wtih other lawyers. Nashville is fortunate to have a good bar–in court you represent your client zealously, then afterward you all get togther and it’s a very cordial atmosphere–that makes practicing law more enjoyable than in what can be more cutthroat markets.”

“If you want to become a lawyer, it’s never too late. Every law class has a diverse age of students. There were parents, folks in their 40s looking for a new career. I’ll say this up front, though. A lot of people see lawyers on TV and think they all make a lot of money. 20 years ago that was probably the case, but now the market is saturated. More attorneys, more law students. A good salary is attainable but not guaranteed. To get a big law firm job you need to be in the top 10% of your class. Know that you probably won’t make what you think as you start out. And law school is very expensive–comparable to Berklee each year. Do a cost-benefit analysis. What do attorneys make in the market you want to practice in. Will that justify the debt you’ll take on?”

“If you don’t include a trial, a case is around 100 – 110 hours of work. If it goes to trial, you want to put in 4 days of straight prep and 3 days for the trial.

“In the first year of law school you really figure out if you want to do law or not. There’s a lot of dropouts. It’s challenging, but also very rewarding at the same time.”

“Don’t think going to music school makes you unmarketable. I think Berklee is why I got into Belmont despite a mediocre LSAT score. Berklee is a unique school. Use that to yoru advantage.





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