Alumni Profile: Tom Misfeldt ’68, JD’74
Degree(s): BS Psychology – UW–Madison; JD – UW–Madison
Current Occupation: Retired
What are some of the benefits of your psychology degree?
I was a trial lawyer. I used psychology regularly to assess whether my client’s story was credible, what jurors I felt would be favorable to our position, whether the case should be settled, whether certain expert witness were credible, etc. Later in my career, I stopped wearing a coat and tie when I met with my clients. I learned they were more comfortable talking with me if I was dressed like they were, rather than being formal.
How did you find your way to your current profession?
I am an accidental lawyer. When I was a junior, I thought I wanted to be a psychology professor when I graduated. One night when I was walking on campus, I saw a sign on the bottom of Bascom Hill saying a recruiter from Harvard Law School was speaking on campus that night. I wasn’t doing anything else, so I decided to listen to him. He spoke of being a lawyer in such positive terms regarding helping people that ever since then, all I wanted to do was practice law.
What advice would you give to students graduating with a psychology degree?
Your degree gives you exposure to a number of different areas of fields of learning. You can use your degree in any number of ways given your background. View life with an open mind and you will find innumerable ways to successfully use your psychology education.
If interested, please list an identity or group membership of which you are particularly proud:
Small town boy