Wayne Law student doubles as a social worker/therapist

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

During the Larry Nassar sex offender scandal at Michigan State University, Katelyn Maddock spent two years as a therapist at the MSU Center for Survivors.

“Being at the epicenter of such a large-scale trauma was really eye-opening for me in terms of what it meant to create healing and justice for not only survivors, but the public at large,” says Maddock, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master of social work degree, both from the University of Michigan.

“I’ve always been a big people-person and extrovert and knew I needed to work in a social field. I volunteered with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center when I was in undergrad at the University of Michigan, and that was where I learned about social justice and discovered my passion for social change. Therapy was something I found I was naturally good at and really loved. Working with clients and watching them grow is truly the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”

Now a 2L student at Wayne State University Law School, Maddock’s goal is to bring a social-work lens into the field of law as she pursues a career in public interest.

“I saw law school as a way for me to be an active participant in helping shape and change systems that oppress, traumatize, and create substantial harm for those who interact with it,” she says.

“My classmates have been one of the best parts of being at Wayne Law. Being in law school has taught me to be more collaborative and I’ve been very fortunate to surround myself with classmates and friends that challenge me to work harder, be more open minded, and step outside of my comfort zone. Being able to talk through everything from Civil Procedure to Property has deepened my understanding of the law and has really helped me excel.

“Outside of the classroom, the friends I’ve made have been instrumental in remembering to have fun and enjoy my time in school, even amidst a pandemic.”

Involved in Law Review and Moot Court, Maddock also serves as president of the Women's Law Caucus, and finds it fulfilling to help create an environment people can come to as a ‘home base’ within the law school.

“I came into law school without any legal connections and very little knowledge of the field in general,” she says. “Joining the WLC connected me with both student and attorney mentors that have been instrumental in making my overall experience so positive and introducing me to professional opportunities I would have otherwise not known about.

“My goal is to make sure all of our members feel as if they have people they can count on to ask questions, talk through issues, and receive encouragement from. I think this is especially important since all of our academic and extracurricular activities are online for the semester. Our goal is to make sure that this warm, welcoming environment still exists even on Zoom.”
his past summer, Maddock interned for Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform/Subcommittee on the Environment.

“Everything about my experience was awesome even despite being online,” she says. “The staff on the Subcommittee on the Environment were warm and welcoming from the jump and they were the folks who made my experience so positive. Because we were a smaller team, I was able to have a much more hands-on role in drafting memos, conducting legal research, identifying witnesses, drafting question lines, and assisting with committee hearings.

“My team's trust and encouragement helped me develop my legal research and writing skills far beyond what they were when I began the internship as well as develop a deep appreciation for all of the work that goes on behind the scenes to help our government run more efficiently and effectively.”

Maddock is interested in a career in public service.

“I'm not quite sure what that will look like as of yet, but I'm excited to figure out what it will be,” she says. “I enjoyed my experience working for the Oversight and Reform Committee, so government work may be on that list, but I'm trying to explore every avenue I can to figure out what my best fit will be.”

The lifelong resident of Canton is currently living at home with her parents, Mark and Sue; and her younger brother Jared, a recent graduate from Grand Valley State University.

“Being at home has allowed me to spend more time with my dog Jack—an 8-year-old German Shepherd and the best boy on the planet—which we both really appreciate,” she says. “It’s also decreased the amount of money I spend on gas each week.

“The hardest part has been learning how to implement structure and routine into a schedule that feels virtually wide open, but that’s getting easier over time.

“Working remotely has also been an important wake up call for needing to be intentional about taking care of myself. I’ve had to be more mindful of getting out of my seat and getting outside, making time for important relationships, and giving myself permission to step away from work to care for myself. It’s been a mixed bag, but I've been doing my best to have some grace with myself and others as we all try to navigate this together.”

Maddock’s leisure time pursuits include reading, reality TV, and cooking; and she also started a therapy business in Troy, Renaowen Counseling LLC, at the start of law school as a way to stay connected to social work throughout school.

“It's been an awesome way for me to stay grounded,” she says. “Working with clients in a therapeutic capacity reminds me of why I chose to pursue law in the first place. It's also not a bad way to pay the bills.

“My therapy practice is named after my parents— I combined their middle names—because they've been instrumental in all of my academic and professional success.”


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