Law has allowed Jeremy Heallen ’03 to pursue his passions. His career path has included stints as a civil litigator, college instructor and legal news reporter, all of which he says were made possible by his law degree.
Heallen came to the law through journalism. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Sam Houston State University, he cut his teeth in broadcast news as the first intern from that school selected and sponsored by Dan Rather, a proud alum. As an active member of the CBS national news desk, Heallen helped cover stories for the CBS Evening News and 48 Hours, including the JFK Jr. plane crash.
“When I interned with CBS at age 22, I began to realize the complexity of a range of issues that affect society,” he says. “I was searching for a way to further develop my understanding of these issues and to do something about them. Although journalism is not always a completely passive activity, I often felt the desire to do something more about the stories I was reporting. Law school seemed like the natural solution.”
For nine years, Heallen devoted his energy to a broad-based civil litigation practice in Houston, which he found rewarding after some initial trepidation.
“I remember spending two weeks preparing to argue my first contested motion, which in hindsight involved relatively simple issues,” he said. “My fear of abject failure paid off for my client and for me. I prevailed at the hearing and realized then that I had the skills to be a litigator, which I owe to the University of Houston Law Center.
“My law school professors forced me to abandon undisciplined thinking and personal insecurity. Learning to ‘think like a lawyer’ is one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
In 2012, Heallen was called back to journalism, but this time is leveraging his experience and legal education to get a leg up. As a reporter for Law360, he covers commercial litigation and the Texas legal industry.
And in his spare time, Heallen keeps his hands ink-stained in print journalism by serving as the faculty advisor to “The Summa,” the student newspaper at the University of St. Thomas, where he also teaches pre-law courses as an adjunct professor.