Student News

Andre Keels, L’18, started his career in the legal field — but not in the way you might expect.

It was always his plan to go to law school, but after a nine-week training course to become a deputy sheriff, Keels joined the force as a full-time deputy in 2013.

As he prepared to apply to law school, he realized the Sheriff’s Office had exposed him to a different part of the legal system.

“One thing that all the lawyers tell us is that you have to be a good listener; you have to deal with people and … take the temperature of a room,” Keels said. “As a deputy sheriff, I worked inside the jail. In that capacity, you very much have to be aware of all of those things.”

Once at Richmond, Keels wanted to broaden his legal experience, so he focused on courses in anything but criminal law. He enjoyed civil procedure and business and landed a summer 2017 internship with McGuireWoods, where he was immersed in labor and employment law.

The variety of work — ranging from regulatory affairs to administrative work to litigation — resonated with Keels.

“I want very much to not be necessarily doing the exact same thing every day but also have the opportunity to develop a specialty,” Keels said.

He’ll have the chance to do just that. After a year clerking for Virginia Supreme Court Justice Stephen McCullough, L’97, Keels will return to McGuireWoods for a position with its New York office.