What do you get when you mix a degree in philosophy with a year of reflection and bartending? Well, in Ariel Resnick's case, you discover a pathway to law school.
Resnick, 28, is an associate attorney at Chattanooga's Grant Konvalinka & Harrison law firm, where she has worked since August.
Her path to a career in law wasn't so much a straight shot as a bank shot, which ultimately landed her in a suite of law offices on the Ninth floor of Republic Center on Chestnut Street with a bird's-eye view of downtown Chattanooga.
"In college I didn't know what I wanted to do," she says. "I started toying with the idea of law school my senior year. As a philosophy major, I did all the reading and writing, all that dense sort of academic work."
Turns out, that was good preparation for law school.
Also a plus was a year spent bartending at Hutton & Smith Brewing Company on M.L. King Boulevard, which put her in conversation with lots of attorneys who encouraged her to think about law school after getting her bachelor's degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, she says.
"I knew I needed to go back to school to do something," she says. "I called it the 'post-college blues.' I just felt wayward."
So she took the LSAT exam and soon found herself at UT-Knoxville for law school, where she realized that her penchant for reading and writing would serve her well.
"I really loved law school, the academic and intellectual environment," she says. " It throws you together with a lot of people I wouldn't have otherwise been friends with — we just wouldn't have crossed paths. I've made some wonderful friends that I talk to every day."
Law school was the launching pad for a series of internships that helped her see the profession up close, Resnick says. She was a clerk at the University of Tennessee College of Law Legal Clinic, and later a judicial intern for Judge Thomas Frierson II, of the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
After college in 2020, during the pandemic lockdown, she landed a job as a judicial law clerk at the Hamilton County Chancery Court, where she worked for a year. Observing judges and lawyers and their everyday routines was invaluable, she says.
* Age: 28
* Job: Associate attorney, Grant Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C.
* Hometown: Signal Mountain
* Education: University of Tennessee School of Law
* Hobbies: Rock climbing
"In Chancery Court I got to really see what lawyers do every day," she says. "Because I was with them for a year, I also got a lot of insight about what the judges like and what they don't like."
Now, in her new job, she has a couple of her own clients while assisting the senior attorneys on cases, as well.
"It's a nice feeling, like I'm doing what I've been trained to do for years," she says.
Resnick, who attended Girls Preparatory School, says that after a few years of separation, it's good to be back in her hometown, where she has taken up rock climbing as a hobby.
"I feel like Chattanooga is changing so much," she says. "It's not the same city it was when I was 18.
"I've been looking toward the future so long, I just want to settle."