Ryan Reed is just entering his second year at Valparaiso University Law School, but he already has an interesting — and rewarding — career path in mind. Reed played baseball during his undergraduate days at the University of Southern Indiana, but reconstructive surgery on his arm cut his playing career short. But by then, he already knew he wanted to go to law school, and, inspired by his two college athletics directors, to pursue a career in collegiate athletics. “I like the atmosphere of a college campus, and I like the thought of amateur athletics,” Reed said. “It’s more an idea of a team” than working for a paycheck in the professional ranks. Reed grew up in California but his family moved to the Indianapolis area when he was nearing high school. His aunt, an attorney in Indianapolis, and two other attorneys who advised Reed encouraged him to look at Valparaiso University Law School.
The Sports Law Clinic was among the attractions that brought Reed to Valparaiso University Law School. After he graduates, Reed said he will apply with the NCAA compliance office, but is also open to working in that area at a university. Eventually, he wants to work in sports administration. “I would prefer a Valpo-sized school, to be an athletic director, preferably Division I. I like the feel of Valparaiso, working in the athletics office here. You see the athletes around campus and everybody knows them, and everybody knows the coaches. The coaches are friendly to all of the students. I like that feel. I like that community feeling,” Reed said.
Reed currently works for Jennifer Samble, associate director of athletics for compliance and student services. He deals with financial paperwork from official recruit visits, unofficial visits, keeping track of coach-recruit communication, answering compliance questions from coaches, and related matters. He said he has gained valuable experience that will help him when he is transitioning to the job market. He is also president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Association. As far as his legal education goes, Reed said he looked at bigger schools, but wasn’t happy with what he found. “It’s a cutthroat atmosphere,” Reed said. “You can’t trust the guy sitting to your right or left because he’s trying to get your spot. That just wasn’t for me.”
At Valparaiso University Law School, he found a much more collegial atmosphere. “Throughout my first year, it’s been professors asking you by your first name, ‘How’s your day going? What can we do to help you?’ I think the idea of law as a calling, it really stems from them,” Reed said of the faculty. Reed said that he has gotten a great start from Professor Ruth C. Vance and her Legal Writing and Reasoning class. “Through his diligence, he became one of my top students last year and will serve as one of my teaching assistants in the 1L Legal Writing Program starting this fall,” Vance said. Reed said the professors are committed to imparting their knowledge to the next generation of legal minds. “That’s what they love doing,” Reed said. “They want to be there. The academic side, it’s very, very hard, and a lot of reading, but the professors I’ve gotten to know really make it easier because of their attitude and professionalism.”
The new Heritage Hall building houses the Lawyering Skills Center and the Legal Clinic and adds to the student experience, he said. The Legal Clinic provides free services to community members. “It’s just amazing, seeing how involved the Law School is in the community,” Reed said. “I know that’s a big part of the mission here. The school wants you to be a part of the community. That’s what makes it different here.”