Doug Webb

Doug Webb '02

General Counsel

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How did you find your way to where you are today? Share a little about your professional journey.

I took a year off after graduating from Furman to make sure I wanted to go to law school. That year confirmed my interest, and I went to the University of South Carolina School of Law. I was a prosecutor immediately following law school, trying cases ranging from armed robberies to murder. It was a fantastic and valuable experience. I switched gears and became the attorney for the school district in Greenville about eight years ago. It is a diverse job and I practice in a number of different areas, including employment and education law.

What inspires you?

I try to help support students as they grow and learn, even in a small way and from a solely legal perspective. My goal is to help them become adults who contribute to society. Going to bed each night with that hope and belief after of dealing with litigation or school district operational issues inspires me and enables me to enjoy my position.

When providing advice for professional development, what are some tools or resources one should consider?

I don't have any specific advice except to always be who you are when interacting with others and to always work hard. It is also important to keep your work in perspective and not allow career stress to affect how you live or your demeanor with others.

How would you recommend someone interested in the same career/vocation pursue a similar path?

Working as an attorney for a school district is not common and there are only six in South Carolina. However, I recommend working with a firm that practices in employment and/or education law and then seek out open positions with school districts when those positions become available.

How did Furman prepare you to be successful?

Furman challenged me to improve my work ethic, which helped me in law school and beyond. Furman also surrounded me with individuals, both professors and students, who helped shape me as a person.

What do you wish you would have known getting started in your field?

While I knew this to some extent as my career began, the legal field is competitive and it is a commitment in time and effort. I enjoy the practice of law, but I would not encourage someone to attend law school unless they are committed to the endeavor. I have known several people who chose this trajectory because they thought it was a good career choice but were not really interested in law. Most of those individuals are no longer practicing law and have switched to a different profession. While I am glad they switched and are now doing something that is satisfying for them, law school is a commitment in so many ways and it is better not to rush into it without being fairly confident of the path.

Are there any unspoken rules or recommendations that "they" don't tell you?

Try to avoid getting too tied up into law school rankings. Unless you attend a school in the top tier, I believe attending a law school in the state in which you might want to practice or that has a specialty that appeals to you is much more important. As far as practicing law, remember your reputation is valuable. Even when there is an adversarial relationship, such as combative litigation, handling yourself in a professional and honest manner helps build your career much more than trying to "one up" the other side.

How has your liberal arts background shaped your career path or supported your success?

Furman (and my liberal arts education) has made me a better person in helping me grow multi-dimensionally. My education at Furman not only enhanced my work ethic, but also allowed me to see a broader picture of life that has helped me place work and life in perspective.

What are other courses you took or you wish you would have taken that would also add value in your career?

I strongly encourage studying abroad at Furman. I regret that I did not, though I did work through an internship in Congress for one semester. My wife studied and traveled to Africa, and I believe similar experiences help you grow as a person and ultimately are a benefit in any profession.