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Getting into His ‘Forever Profession’

Former pro basketball player William Belton combines Vanderbilt law degree with MSF

William Belton
Associate, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Nashville, TN
Associate, Baker Donelson

Vanderbilt JD/ MS Finance 2016

William Belton’s first love is basketball. He played professionally overseas for several years after graduating from Morehouse College. But he also knew basketball wouldn’t last forever. As he began his transition “into a profession I could do forever,” William worked for a nonprofit focused on helping clients affected financially by the housing crash.

But his sights were set on a law career. At Vanderbilt, William found the opportunity to earn both a law degree and the MSF. For him, the decision made a lot of sense. “Once I knew I wanted to be a corporate lawyer,” he explains, “my focus shifted to how best to serve corporate clients. How better to do that than learn to speak their language and delve into how they make decisions?

“In addition, post-2008, corporate clients more than ever have to justify legal costs, and legal work must be tied to an operational outcome. Going to business school allowed me to better align my practice with the objectives of my clients.”

After landing a position with a well-known Nashville firm, William believes he is well positioned for the rest of his career. “I eventually want to be a Partner in a firm, which assuredly will require a commitment to understanding the business needs of my clients,” he says. “As I've gotten more familiar with the options available to transactional lawyers, I am increasingly pleased with my decision to pursue the MSF.  Owen has shown me how much potential there is at the intersection of law and business.”

Fun Fact: William took the LSAT while at training camp for a professional basketball league in Qatar.

“Owen has shown me how much potential there is at the intersection of law and business.”