Matt Slater may not be a professional athlete, but he is definitely a team player. The fourth-year PLEAS student is the Special Assistant General Manager to the St. Louis Cardinals, an experienced talent scout seeking major and minor league acquisitions for the Major League Baseball team. But legal education has always been on his mind. While an undergraduate at Marquette University in the early 1990s, he considered attending several law schools in the Midwest that had accepted him, but a part-time job with the Milwaukee Brewers turned into a full-time position as an assistant in scouting development, and Slater put law school on hold.
By 1995, Slater was working for the Baltimore Oriels and became involved with scouting for prospective players both nationally and overseas. In 1998, he got an offer to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers as Director of Scouting Operations. He spent nine years with the organization, putting together teams that included key players such as Dave Roberts and Shawn Green. After new owners purchased the team two and a half years ago, Slater left on his own volition to work for the Cardinals.
Slater's position involves frequent trips throughout the United States and international journeys to Latin America and Asia in search of the most appropriate talent to suit the team's needs at any given time. All of the travel makes law school an even bigger challenge, and Slater knows that his very strong support system is making his career and education possible. His wife Thomasine, a pediatric dietician and the mother of his 9-year-old son and 6-year-old twins, was the one who encouraged him to go to law school. His boss, Cardinals' General Manager John Mozeliak, supports Slater staying in Los Angeles while he completes his J.D. degree. "The Part-time Day Program fit my schedule and made it work," Slater said. "My professors have been very accommodating. Sometimes I have to miss class, but I make up all of the work. I do a lot of studying on planes and write notes on index cards while sitting in ballparks."
In addition to his family, job and law school, Slater is also a consultant for the Orix Buffaloes in Osaka, Japan, and recommends several American players for the team. "The Cardinals love it because it develops fruitful relationships. I'm a big believer in international baseball and what it can do for the game."
Although he is not planning on becoming a litigator or corporate attorney or even a sports agent, Slater knows that his legal education will help enhance his career. He relishes this opportunity to maintain his profession while pursuing a law degree. "There were very few schools in the country of this quality that would allow me to do what I am doing. This school has been incredible in its flexibility."