MORGANTOWN – West Virginia Law student Paige Diggs has forged her own path in her legal studies. The former Fresno State University basketball player asked herself “how can I forge two passions” of sports and law and found a unique answer.
“I’m a little different,” Diggs told The West Virginia Record. “I’m not going the traditional path at all.”
Diggs found an externship in the compliance office working for WVU Deputy Athletic Director Keli Cunningham that allows her to apply what she has learned in law school while giving her the opportunity to help young athletes.
“I really like helping people in general,” Diggs said.
At first, Diggs said the university did not have a position available in which she could work in both the legal and sports realms. However, a position in the compliance office was created after Cunningham told Diggs “I see something in you,” she said.
Diggs said meeting the parents of the WVU athletes is one fun part of her experience. In addition, she has worked at WVU sports events, which she said has allowed her to experience college sports from a different perspective than that of a student-athlete.
“I’m learning more than just compliance,” she said.
As part of her externship, which is continuing through Diggs’ final year at WVU Law, she represented the university at the NCAA Regional Rules Seminar in Orlando, Florida in May 2016.
Back on campus, some of Diggs’ responsibilities in the compliance office include updating contracts and working with regulatory and compliance issues.
Following graduation from law school in the spring, Diggs said she’d like to remain “in the university realm,” including possibly in compliance. But, no matter what position she takes, she would like it to be a role that allows her to prepare the student athletes for life after college.
“(I enjoy) helping with getting people to that next level,” Diggs said.
However, she said her career path likely does not include coaching basketball. Diggs said she is still in contact with her college coach and she recognizes the importance of a coach’s role in raising their young charges into adulthood, serving as coach, teacher, counselor and surrogate parent.
“That’s a lot of responsibility to do that,” Diggs said.
Before her externship in Cunningham’s office, Diggs said she interned with a judge.
“I loved it, but I wanted to do something different,” she said.
One message she’d like to convey to prospective law students is that being a lawyer doesn’t have to be limited to working in a courtroom, although that is what most people believe when they consider the profession.
“Keep your mind open to all possibilities,” Diggs said.
An Amarillo, Texas, native, Diggs said she came to West Virginia Law to follow in her brother’s footsteps. She said her brother was at West Virginia law early in her tenure there.
“Always a little sister, I guess,” Diggs said.
Diggs said she likes West Virginia, although, as a Texas girl who completed her undergraduate studies in California, she said it has taken some time for her to get used to the colder Morgantown winters.