Rahul Munshi '06
What is your current job?
Currently, I am an Associate Attorney at Console Law Offices LLC, a boutique law firm in Philadelphia where we represent individuals in employment and civil rights cases. I graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2009 and then clerked for a federal district court judge in Philadelphia before joining my current firm. In general, I advocate on behalf of individuals who have been discriminated against, treated unfairly, or subjected to a hostile work environment because of one or more of their protected characteristics -- race, sex, age, disability status, and so on. The work is quite rewarding and falls directly in line with my personal and political beliefs, as well as my interest in social justice legislation and policy.
Why did you choose this profession?
I decided I wanted to become an attorney around my sophomore year at Haverford. I was in a history or political science class where we were learning about different political philosophies and the role of government. I came across a quote by Hubert H. Humphrey, who was once Vice President of the US. The quote was: “It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” I took away from that quote that lawmakers, and by extension lawyers, have a tremendous amount of power and influence to shape society, and those lawyers who are advocating on behalf of individuals living in the shadows of life have the ability to do some real good and important work. From that point I knew that I wanted to train to be a lawyer and represent the underrepresented, give power to the powerless, and give a voice to the voiceless.
What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?
My career has only just begun, and my aspirations far exceed my accomplishments thus far. I recently won my first jury trial in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit, which is a benchmark accomplishment for civil litigators. For the time being, I hope to continue in my efforts to represent individuals who have been the victims of an abuse of power by their employers or the government. On a broader scale, the goal is to effectuate meaningful change to achieve a more just society. One of my all-time favorite quotes is the motto of Antioch College: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” Together, we can make these changes happen and score victories for humanity in a variety of ways – through legislation, litigation, and social and economic progress. I hope to look back on my career one day and find that I played a role in making America more just, equal, and balanced.
Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.
The advice I often give to current law students, and even undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in the law, is that you must guide your career decisions by what you want to do and what will make you happy. In law school, for example, you’re likely going to hear from a whole lot of folks over and over again about what you’re “supposed to do” after you graduate. And if your experience is anything like mine, you’re going to hear that what you’re “supposed to do” is get a job at the biggest, baddest corporate defense firm that will take you. Those are the most prestigious jobs, they’re the toughest to get, they pay the most money, and corporate defense work representing the largest multi-national corporations is what a lot of people think of when they think of a “successful lawyer.” And when you get inundated with that mentality, consider my advice that there is no career path you are “supposed to take” and only you should decide how to define personal and professional “success.” If you want to do public interest work, go ahead and apply for those jobs. If you want to do plaintiff’s side litigation, try and do it. If you want to go into public service, like working at the district attorney’s or public defender’s office, then go for it. Don’t worry about what other people think you’re “supposed to do” because the only thing you’re “supposed to do” is what makes you happy and what you’ll enjoy doing as a lawyer, day in and day out. The best thing that happened to me in terms of my career was realizing that I had to release myself from the chains of bad advice pushing me towards a career that I did not want and understanding that I control my personal definition of a “successful lawyer.”
How has Haverford influenced your professional career?
Haverford has had a tremendous influence on my life and career. Many of my closest personal and professional relationships are with fellow Haverford alums. Through the Haverford College Lawyers Network, an organization I co-founded several years ago, I have interacted with hundreds of Haverford attorneys, former attorneys, and soon-to-be attorneys. Each alumnus I speak to seems to find that the time spent at Haverford was instrumental to career decisions made along the way. For me, my college years encouraged me to think globally, develop empathy, and appreciate the power of community. Haverford inspired me to value relationships and instilled in me a desire to aid (clients, colleagues, fellow alums, etc.) as best I can and in any way I can. That mentality has led me to feel more fulfilled, personally and professionally.