Early college paves way for young attorney

Before many of his peers finished their bachelor’s degrees, Zachary Eddy had already begun accelerating in his dream career as an attorney.

And while preemptively catapulting his career wasn’t easy, he credits hard work, a steadfast vision and Ohio’s Washington State Community College (WSCC) with providing him a solid launching pad.

At just 23 years old, Eddy has liberal arts transfer and general science transfer associate degrees from WSCC, a bachelor’s degree in political science from Marietta College, and his juris doctorate from Michigan State University (MSU) College of Law. He crowned those achievements by passing the Ohio bar examination and landing a job at one of Ohio’s most prestigious law firms. He also recently took the West Virginia bar exam and is awaiting the results.

Exploring his options

But to get to where he is today, Eddy established some pretty significant goals early in his academic career. In fact, he was a sophomore at Fort Frye High School when he first set his sights on early college. That’s when he attended a WSCC information session on the Post-Secondary Education Option (PSEO), now called College Credit Plus.

“I thoroughly researched my options at Washington State and I knew this was the path for me,” Eddy said.

As a high school junior and senior, Eddy attended WSCC full time. “I knew there was a lot of education in the cards for me and participating in PSEO was the right path to get me into my legal career.”

He graduated from WSCC in 2012 magna cum laude. And with the credits he earned he was able to shave two years off his academic timeline, enrolling at Marietta College as a second-semester junior. While earning his bachelor’s degree, he fortified his education by interning for the Marietta City law director’s office and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s office.

Maintaining his momentum, Eddy completed his degree at Marietta cum laude and went straight to law school where he again accelerated academically and ultimately graduated cum laude.

During law school, he earned real-life experience when he worked as a legal extern for a U.S. magistrate judge for the western district of Michigan. He also completed an internship with the Nature Conservancy, an international organization focused on conservation and environmental issues, which fit with his energy/environmental interests.

“Everything has fallen into line pretty nicely for me,” Eddy said. “The planning, the execution and the hard work were key factors to my success.”

Back to Ohio

Following graduation from MSU, Eddy’s priority was to get back to his home state. “I jumped at the first opportunity to come back to Ohio,” he said.

It was the Columbus-based law offices of Bricker & Eckler that provided him with the chance to return to his native state. Today, he is an attorney in the firm’s energy, environment and utilities group.

And with all his success, Eddy still looks back to his first alma mater, WSCC, and credits it for equipping him with a solid fundamental start. “The guidance and support I received at Washington State served as a firm foundation upon which I am building my career,” he said.

About the Author

Missy Richman
is a communications support specialist at Washington State Community College in Ohio.