“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that,” once quipped legendary head coach Bill Shankly of Liverpool Football Club. Growing up in England, Notre Dame Law School second year student Paul Kerridge embodied Shankly’s famous quote. Football was his life and still is part of Paul’s unique makeup today.
Paul was dedicated enough to play football for Nottingham Trent University. Like many university athletes, Paul found himself at a crossroads. “My knees just weren’t there anymore,” speaks Paul in his still thick English accent. “Even today, I go to turn on a ball and my legs take another 2 or 3 seconds to catch up with my head. Luckily I was still young enough to go back to school.”
Paul’s road to Notre Dame Law School was, perhaps, non-traditional. After coming over to the States, Paul settled into an assistant coaching job with Harvard University’s soccer team. After several years of other coaching and administrative soccer jobs, Paul ultimately found himself in the Midwest.
So why did Paul enroll in law school and why at Notre Dame? Paul explains with a quip worthy of Shankly, “I don’t like it when I’m annoyed at someone and I can’t tell them why they’re wrong! I realized I have a real passion for debate and the snowball went rolling downhill.”
For Paul, there were few other universities that measured up to Notre Dame. “There are very, very few American schools that are heard of in other countries,” cites Paul as one of the many reasons he choose Notre Dame.
Another reason was Notre Dame’s true commitment to the idea of having moral standards, not just practical ones. “Notre Dame just comes at things from such a moral, ethical base.”
Now in his second year of law school, Paul is working in the legal research field with professor Christine Venter. Their research: Appellate arguments and what non-legal factors determine a decision. For example, due to high blood sugar after breakfast or lunch, are judges more likely to overturn a decision? This research may have a profound impact on when appellate cases are scheduled for hearing.
In addition to this research, Paul cites another important lesson he’s learned while at Notre Dame. “Being passionate about your argument, but being dispassionate about the law. The law is the law. You have to fight within the rules to make a difference.”
Paul still gets back on the pitch today, coaching in various leagues around the community. His future, however, performs in a new type of field. “There’s lots of possibilities for my future,” says Paul. “I may end up in a firm, I know I want to do litigation.” Seems like the perfect place for Paul’s competitive spirit to play out.