Catie Lane Bailey wasn’t even old enough to vote when she knew that she wanted to be involved in public policy and the law.
As a sophomore at Portland High School, where she later graduated as valedictorian, Bailey set her sights on blending an education
in law with having an impact on how government works.
“I knew then that I wanted to pursue a career in public policy,” Bailey said. “I wasn’t sure in what capacity, but I knew law school would be a part of that.”
Today, Bailey works as an attorney and registered lobbyist in the downtown Nashville office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP. She joined the firm in 2016 as a policy advisor and attorney in the government relations division.
Her path to Waller began while she was still in college and interning for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in Washington, D.C. She loved the experience.
“Working for Senator Alexander gave me a deeper appreciation for public policy,” Bailey said. “It’s oftentimes a thankless job, always under scrutiny by someone. But it’s also very rewarding to know that you are serving a greater good.”
Her experience working for Sen. Alexander reaffirmed that public policy was her way to serve. After graduating in three and a half years as a President’s Scholar from Western Kentucky University, Bailey landed a job at the Tennessee State Legislature working for Rep. Richard Montgomery as a research analyst. She then had a brief stint as a legislative liaison for Gov. Bill Haslam at the Tennessee Department of Revenue, serving under then-Commissioner Richard Roberts.
Because of her professional and family ties to Middle Tennessee, Bailey chose to attend Nashville School of Law even though she had received a scholarship to the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis.
At NSL, she particularly enjoyed classes in Constitutional and First Amendment law taught by Dean William C. Koch, Jr. and Professor David Hudson., respectively.
“I loved the content areas and the professors,” she said. “I thought it was really, really neat to be taught by a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice who has been a part of so much history in our state during his time under Gov. Alexander and on the bench,” she said of Dean Koch.
Professor Hudson taught several of Bailey’s classes.
“Mr. Hudson was, by far, one of the most interesting teachers I had at NSL. He is very passionate about what he teaches.”
After graduating from NSL, Bailey worked as Director of Government Relations for the Tennessee Apartment Association and as Senior Policy Advisor at the law firm of Miller & Martin in Nashville before joining Waller.
She has a strong message for current NSL students about the importance of perseverance.
“You can do it! Law school is no doubt a test of endurance and patience, and preparation for the bar exam is even worse … it will be worth it when you’re done!”