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Pitz proud of Chesapeake College experience

Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Attorney Heather Pitz has studied international law at Oxford University and been accepted into the only university in the nation that offers an advanced degree in government procurement law.

She is also a Chesapeake College graduate – and pretty proud of it.

"I was initially worried about how I would be able to compete with people who went to Georgetown and other prestigious universities," said Pitz, a 1992 Chesapeake College graduate who will serve as the college´s commencement speaker this year. "My work at Chesapeake actually set everything in motion for me.

"My grades at Chesapeake earned me a scholarship to the University of Baltimore, my grades at the University of Baltimore got me into law school, and my law school degree landed me a job with one of the top 100 law firms in the country," said Pitz, who is a member of the Government Contract Practice Group at Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Stuart Bounds, Chesapeake College´s president, said Pitz´s success provides an important lesson for today´s Chesapeake College students.

"Our students leave Chesapeake and go on to do some amazing things," said Dr. Bounds. "Heather´s achievements illustrate how our graduates can successfully compete at the highest educational and professional levels."

Like many recent high school graduates, Pitz said she wasn´t initially eager to start her college career at Chesapeake.

"All of my friends were going away to college and I didn´t have that option," said Pitz, noting her family had three daughters in need of a college education.

Pitz said the decision to attend Chesapeake worked out both financially and academically.

"The curriculum at Chesapeake was good and I liked the professors," said Pitz, who was involved with both mentoring and the Student Advisory Board while at Chesapeake. "Everyone has to complete the same 60 credit hours (of freshman- and sophomore-level courses). You can spend $60,000 (at a four-year college or university) or you can spend $5,000 to get them."

Pitz said scholarships paid for both her Chesapeake College associate degree and her bachelor´s degree from the University of Baltimore. Northrop Grumman Corporation, where she worked as a financial analyst and contracts representative, assisted with the cost of law school.

"My parents were able to put me through undergrad and law school for about 500 bucks," said Pitz with a laugh.

Pitz said she adjusted to the law-school grind by taking a short-range view.

"It was a lot of work, a lot of reading and writing," said Pitz. "I worked fulltime and went to law school four nights a week for four years. The way I looked at it was, it´s one semester for 15 weeks. You can´t look at it as four years or you´ll get overwhelmed. Once you get rolling, you don´t know how to stop."

Pitz, who called her studies in international law at Oxford "a great opportunity," is now pursuing a Masters of Legal Letters (LL.M.) at the George Washington University National Law Center in Washington, D.C.

"I have a student´s mentality," said Pitz. "I think I´ll be in school forever."

Pitz´s path through higher education soon became a family tradition.

"Both of my sisters (Jennifer Pitz and Shannon Abel) went to Chesapeake and then finished their last two years at a state university," said Pitz.

Pitz´s practice is focused on the broad array of business and legal issues facing construction and government contractors. Contract drafting and negotiation, acquisition planning, bid protests, export compliance, and claims and equitable adjustments are just some of the areas in which Pitz is involved.

"We have clients from every industry with a wide variety of issues," said Pitz, who lives near Baltimore and also has a home on Kent Island. "It´s all pretty exciting."


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