Graduating from Courtroom to Classroom


Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Murphy

Beginning the next stage in her life, Murphy graduates law school and is congratulated by her family. Murphy spent three years getting her degree at Chapman Law School.

Shawyan Rooein and Simrat Singh

When students hear the sound of a gavel, they’re most likely participating in a social studies debate, but for Spanish teacher Alexandra Murphy, the sound is reminiscent of her former career.
Just three years ago, Murphy served at the Orange County District Attorney’s office for two-and-a-half years and was in law school not long before that, a public servant for life.

“I was exploring my passions with those classes. I thought a law degree would be something that would not limit my possibilities and allow me to do more things,” Murphy said. “At the time I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do, [but] I knew that this wasn’t going to be something that would hinder me later on.”

While studying to achieve her Master of Arts in Spanish at University of California, Berkeley, Murphy took a course on Immigration Law that immediately sparked her interest in the American legal system. Exploring her interest in college, Murphy found her passion and applied to law school. She was accepted into Chapman University with a full scholarship in 2009. Following her acceptance into law school, Murphy interned in Los Angeles for six months at the public counsel where she worked on the Homelessness Prevention Project. The program was based on different parts of social services with a goal of ensuring that people receive the benefits they are entitled by law.

“Once I became a prosecutor and was really practicing law, I felt as though I was getting further away from my passion, which was not only teaching but working with individuals and feeling that sense of connection and that I was helping them get to the next level in their life,” Murphy said. “As a prosecutor your job is to be a part of the process to keep society safe, to help run and be a part of the justice system, but it wasn’t necessarily helping people better their lives.”

After the three years Murphy spent as a district attorney, she has still found a way to connect her experience to teaching. Murphy has utilized her experience as an actual attorney to work with the students of the Mock Trial Club and lead them to being 3-1 in competitions so far this year, qualifying the club for playoffs.

“It may seem like a complete 180 to certain people who don’t know me and say ‘Wow, you went from law to teaching,’ but yet now I am still using those skills that I acquired in my current job,” Murphy said. “Whatever you do, you will use those skills that you have learned.”