February 15, 2016 • Anonymous
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Being sworn in as a judge is a big deal. While for many pre-law students this might seem like an unattainable dream, if we backtrack to point zero, Manhattanville College alumnus David Fried ‘01 was once in those shoes.
His first step to judgeship was declaring a double major in political science
while keeping up his grades to graduate Magna Cum Laude. During his time at the College, Fried also focused on filling up his resume, landing an internship with the Clintons working as a presidential aide to both Bill and Hillary Clinton thanks to his Manhattanville connections.
He shared that, “Traveling with the Clintons was a high point in my life. Traveling the world as a tourist is nothing compared to traveling it as a part of President Clinton’s entourage. Working on the go as part of the White House team taught me the importance of time management and meticulous organizational skills. Those skills were key to my success working for President Clinton.”
Fried emphasized the importance of his liberal arts education when it comes to succeeding in his career. “Coming into Manhattanville, I was still finding my voice. It was there that I began to find my comfort zone and now in my day-to-day life I speak in public and am comfortable being trusted with leadership responsibilities. I have made speeches in front of thousands of people at a time and it was because of the growth I had during those formative years.”
These stepping stones opened up the doors of the Cardozo School of Law for Fried, who went on to become a legislator after graduating with a Juris Doctorate in constitutional law. In 2003 he was elected to the County Legislature of Rockland County to represent Spring Valley, an impoverished area. He was later elected as Spring Valley Justice in 2009. Before the age of 30 he had also taken on the New York Drug Court and the specialized Domestic Violence Court for which he secured over $1 million in federal grants.
After obtaining this experience, Fried went on to start his own practice and engaging with teaching positions at local colleges and the police academy. He said that, “Through teaching others, I was able to meet students that I keep in touch with to this very day,” He said, “These relationships are a two way street where I can call on them for their advice just as I am there to provide advice in their careers.”
Fried considers being a successful small business owner his greatest achievement to date, feeling no remorse for picking the road less traveled by. Instead, he is constantly moved by the gratitude he feels towards his clients who keep putting their faith in him, to the extent that he has recently doubled his staff size and is taking in more clients every day.
He stated, “My favorite part of my job is the entrepreneurial aspect. I do have to answer to the varied needs of my clients but I love being able to handle my business in the manner that I think is best. It’s a great opportunity to be creative. Through my years of hard work, it gives me great pleasure to be a small business owner. My favorite part of being a judge is also creativity. I enjoy being able to craft decisions that best address the matters presented to me in any given case.”
But returning to point zero, Fried advises undergraduates in the political science major to volunteer their time in either their local elected officials’ government office or on their political campaigns, rather than working on a national or statewide campaign. “You learn more real life experience in local campaigns and are more likely to make an impression on people in the field. That way you can create a path for you to get a job after graduation,” he noted.
In short, success is achieved one day at a time and alumnus David Fried has set a perfect example of how making the right choice at the right time can lead to greatness. So, buckle up for the future because the opportunities you seize today will propel you onwards, even if they seem like minor details right now.
Photo: Courtesy of David Fried ’01.
School of Arts and SciencesAlumni
Political SciencePsychologyBill ClintonHilary ClintonDavid Fried