A unique ‘dual major’: legal and acting careers

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Veterans of the bar will tell you that a bit of acting is sometimes found in the practice of law.  If that’s true, Donald Collier will be well prepared – and he will bring a wide range of experiences to the role.

Collier, who is entering his second year at the Law Center, is a professional actor with a penchant for comedies that include singing and dancing.  This summer, Houston audiences can find him on stage as “Little Moe” in Five Guys Named Moe at the Ensemble Theatre in Midtown. The lively production is based on the life of Louis Jordan, whose rhythm and blues in the 1940s and ‘50s helped pave the road to rock ‘n’ roll.

But when he’s not practicing his lines or taking his curtain calls, Collier has one of the most serious internships on the Law Center campus.  Working under faculty supervision, he handles appeals for Death Row inmates represented by the Texas Innocence Project. 

Surprising as it might sound, Collier says his twin career paths complement each other – and he’s not about to forsake one for the other. “Succeeding in both law and performing has always been my goal. It has never been one or the other, I always went for both,” he says, surveying his pursuits of the past dozen years. “If someone offers me cake or pie, I want them both. I can’t pick one over the other.”

Collier previously appeared in Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Texas Repertory Theatre in Spring, Texas, and in numerous productions at regional theaters from Houston to Austin. A man of many interests, Collier was on the swim team and played football in high school in his hometown of Belton, Texas, where he also performed in the band, choir and, of course, theatricals.  He graduated to community theater and college productions while at the University of Texas, where he majored in French with minors in ethnic studies and marketing.

What’s next? His current role as Little Moe is a summertime diversion away from the law books, but he knows that other productions are in his future.  “I love comedies. They are a lot of fun and I’m naturally a silly person so it’s a natural fit,” he says. “It’s also nice to get a chance to sing and dance.” And the law? “As of right now, public interest law fascinates me… working for the people and working for the state.”  Ideally, he muses, “It would be great to get an internship with a firm that does entertainment law.”

Donald Collier ‘2L (in lime pants) strikes a pose with the four other Moes in the production of Five Guys Named Moe at the Ensemble Theatre in Midtown. Collier is shooting for careers in both acting and the law. (David Bray Photography)

Donald Collier ‘2L (in lime pants) strikes a pose with the four other Moes in the production of Five Guys Named Moe at the Ensemble Theatre in Midtown. Collier is shooting for careers in both acting and the law. (David Bray Photography)

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