Career Spotlight: Whitney Untiedt
With a personal mandate to make the world a better place, Whitney M. Untiedt (JD 05) works at Three Rivers Legal Services in Gainesville, providing legal assistance to people with serious issues who cannot afford to hire private counsel.
As a native Virginian and graduate of the College of William and Mary, Untiedt had every intention of moving back to her home state after law school graduation—but she just couldn’t bring herself to leave Gainesville.
“As graduation drew closer, I realized I wasn’t ready to leave Florida—we call it the ‘Gainesville Curse,’” she said. “I had been working at the Public Defender’s office as an intern, and I really enjoyed the experience, so I interviewed there and was hired for a full-time job.”
She got her start in the public interest field by working with professors who focused on issues that children and families face.
“I was a fellow with the Center on Children and Families under Professor Barbara Woodhouse and the Center for Governmental Responsibility under Tim McLendon,” she said. “My experiences with these renowned UF Law centers further cemented my commitment to public interest law.”
Untiedt enjoys her role as a public interest attorney because it allows her to express her passion of helping the less fortunate who have serious legal issues.
“I believe every attorney has a duty to use his or her degree to make our world a better place, whether by working in a public service position, volunteering pro bono hours, or sharing the wealth with service organizations,” she said. “I’ve chosen to provide direct client services to people who couldn’t otherwise afford a lawyer, and I have really enjoyed the experience.”
In August, Untiedt began a one-year Equal Justice Work AmeriCorps fellowship at Three Rivers, where she focuses on teaching UF Law students the clinical skills they will need to work with clients after graduation.
A great way for current students to make connections and find jobs is to reach out to UF Law alumni who work in their fields of interest, Untiedt said.
“Do whatever it takes to get real-life experience before you graduate, so you can make an informed decision about your career path,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to call up alumni who work in a field that interests you—even if you don’t know them—to ask questions and learn more about the day-to-day aspects of the job.”