From Attorney to Professor – How Lisa Quinn Knych Changed Her Career Path

Before teaching at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Lisa Quinn Knych, professor of law and public policy, practiced as an attorney working for two Upstate New York law firms, serving as an in-house counsel for a savings bank and as an assistant bar examiner for the New York State Board of Law Examiners.

While working at a law firm in Syracuse, Knych found there was an open position to teach law and public policy at the Whitman school for a semester as a full-time visiting professor. She took the jump, hoping that the opportunity could turn into a lifetime career focus. Knych has been a professor at the Whitman School since 1991 and has taught over 5,000 students in that time. 

“I have never regretted becoming a lawyer,” Knych says. “I am confident that my ‘real-life’ experience with the legal system has made me a better professor, and teaching college and graduate students about the law has always been a dream job of mine.”

As a professor of law and public policy practice, Knych’s focus is on teaching – introducing undergraduate students at Whitman to the legal system and teaching accounting students The Law of Commercial Transactions. She also teaches an MBA course, The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business.

Every day Knych is grateful she made the transition from the formal practice of law to academia. She enjoys the opportunity to share her understanding of the legal system, teaching students aspects of the law and honing in on their critical thinking skills. Watching her students improve their ability to support analysis and give considerations that lead to conclusions makes her feel that she has contributed to their education and helped them become better writers and analyzers.

“I have found Syracuse University students to be bright, engaged and hard-working,” she shares. For Knych, the most rewarding aspect of teaching is the students.

Knych is the faculty advisor for Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business school honor society. Junior and senior business students with GPAs in the top 10% of their class are invited to join Beta Gamma Sigma. Society members are also tutors in the Whitman Learning Center.

Knych is appreciative of her husband Peter’s support of her decision to become a professor. He is a practicing attorney and keeps her informed of the challenges of being a part of the legal system. She also has a daughter, a son and two grandchildren.

Learn more about Whitman faculty members in the latest faculty profiles.

Lindsey Godbout
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