Alumni Spotlight

Scott Chaplin '92: In House, Open Door

by, Betty Lynne Leary

With acceptance letters from three D.C.-area law schools in hand, Scott Chaplin '92 decided he needed a closer look.

I didn't make any appointments. I just got in my car and drove from Boston to D.C.," says Chaplin, Class of 1992.

The only school that showed any interest in me showing up was AU." Ray Hazen, then dean of students, came out of his office to greet Chaplin that day and arranged for a student to give him a tour.

"AU was a warm place that appealed to me," Chaplin recalls. Having completed his undergraduate studies at a large, public university in Boston with more students than his hometown, Chaplin was attracted to the smaller, more personal nature of a private school. "Why go to a place where they're just going to treat you like a number?" he asks. "I still have very vivid and positive recollections from my first trip here."

Today, Chaplin is general counsel, secretary and senior vice president at Stanley Associates in their Arlington, Virginia headquarters. He enjoys having an in-house career where his duties range from government contracts and compliance work to labor and employment and customer issues. "Every day is different and it keeps me jumping," he says.
"I never know what issue will be the hot one for the day."

Prioritizing the myriad number of details and managing his time while still offering personal service proves challenging. "Every employee is a client and I have an open-door policy," Chaplin explains. "We're not just a service for the executives, and I don't want people to have to go through a supervisor to talk to the general counsel. I can go from a very high-profile securities issue to getting a phone call from someone asking for a referral for a divorce. I need to make everyone feel their issue is important."

As Chaplin reflects on his time at WCL, he points to the diversity of the student body as one of the most positive aspects of his experience. "They were the most incredible, enjoyable group of people I'd ever been around," he says. "You have to give the school credit for bringing these people together."

Chaplin clerked for a federal judge in D.C. and worked in private practice before launching his in-house career. He also taught at WCL for one year and enjoyed reaching out to a new generation of law students. He encourages new graduates to keep their eyes and ears open all the time to new opportunities. "Sometimes it's the unexpected things than can make your career and if you're too focused on what you think you want to do, you might miss an opportunity," he advises. "You have to have the courage to jump on these opportunities and take some risks. If I didn't expose myself to different conditions and take some risk, I wouldn't be in this career today."