Derrick Rippy '84
Job Title: United States Trial Attorney
J.D., The University of Akron School of Law
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
The United States Trustee Program is one of many components of the United States Department of Justice. As an attorney in the Cleveland, Ohio office, I am responsible for overseeing the administration of bankruptcy cases filed in the Northern District of Ohio. I am charged with enforcing federal bankruptcy laws to protect the integrity of the bankruptcy system and to promote public confidence in its efficiency.
When I attended, it was the close-knit family atmosphere that made Mount Union different. Although students came from many diverse backgrounds, including other countries, everyone was receptive of each other despite racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and economic differences. Mount Union always had and still has a high standard of academic excellence and athletic excellence, something that does not always exist at smaller, liberal arts colleges. This was important to me because I was concerned with academic and athletic success.
I worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Canton, Ohio as a revenue officer. While I enjoyed the experience and appreciate the knowledge gained therefrom, early on I decided that it was not going to be a place from which I would retire. Working for the IRS was enlightening, but it came with the caveat of constantly interacting with the public as an adversary. I did remain working there full-time while attending law school in the evenings, and doing so proved to be most beneficial.
Preparation for Life
The professors at Mount Union were great instructors of their respective disciplines and displayed a genuine love for teaching young, eager minds. The professors challenged me to think, and my academic advisor challenged me to take courses outside of my major. The professors were available after class for additional assistance, but made it clear that, as young adults, it was our responsibility to reach out to them. The professors tried to prepare you not only for a career, but for life. I remember talking to Dr. James Walton, who was a member of the Department of English, about life in general – setting goals, financial planning, and the sort. As a 20-year-old college student, I respectfully listened but did not necessarily take heed of his words. In retrospect, I am thankful for those conversations. Mount Union provided structure and permitted latitude to succeed or fail, but required discipline to excel academically and athletically.
I enjoy the fact that I am employed as an attorney by the United States Department of Justice, which means that I am not concerned with wins and losses as some attorneys in private practice. Instead, I am charged with ensuring that justice prevails in bankruptcy cases that are filed within the Northern District of Ohio. There are times when I have withdrawn actions against debtors in bankruptcy because justice dictates so.
Mount Union provided structure and permitted latitude to succeed or fail, but required discipline to excel academically and athletically.