Spotlight - Tiffany Eveld

by Lindsay Ederheimer

At age 17, Tiffany Eveld had a "light bulb moment" when she knew she was meant to be a prosecutor.

While taking a pre-law course during her senior year of high school, Eveld was assigned as the lead prosecutor in a mock trial.

"I thought to myself, this is what I want to do with my life," Eveld said. "The material just clicked with me, and I found it so interesting."

Eveld says her passion for law stemmed from a passion for helping people. She spent her summers as a teenager volunteering at the YMCA, and tutored at the Family Center for Deafness after learning sign language.

When it came time to attend college, Eveld was drawn to the Bulls Business Community, and knew USF would be the perfect place to start her education.

"I remember being at orientation and learning about the BBC," Eveld said. "I was sold. I realized being a business major would provide me with all of the opportunities I needed to get into law school and become a prosecutor."

Eveld chose to study business management, knowing that learning how to manage a team and communicate effectively with a diverse range of people would help her become a better lawyer.

"People often forget how important communication skills are in this field," Eveld said. "Being able to manage juries and clients is a valuable skill for any lawyer."

While living in the BBC as a freshman and taking advantage of its resources, Eveld was determined to start building her resume and getting real law experience. She approached Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober after he came to speak in one of her classes.

"I was fascinated by his career," Eveld said. "I waited to speak with him after his lecture and told him I wanted to intern in his office."

She followed up with Ober and earned an internship with the State Attorney's Office for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, specifically in the domestic violence division.

Eveld would hold five more internships during her undergraduate career: four dealing with prosecution and one with a federal judge. She describes her most memorable internship at the District Attorney's office in Houston in summer of 2011. Eveld was one of only five undergraduate interns accepted out of more than 400 graduate and law school applicants.

"I would not have gotten that internship if it wasn't for the skills I'd learned in the BBC," Eveld said. "The interviewer said she thought I was a law student at first and was shocked that I was an undergrad. All of those BBC workshops really paid off."

Some of those workshops allowed Eveld write a strong cover letter and résumé, participate in mock interviews with professionals, and attend etiquette dinners. Eveld says learning the basic improvisational skills of working with professionals while living in the BBC made her a more competitive candidate early in her college career.

Eveld was honored in the Muma College of Business's 25 Under 25 program in 2012. The semester after graduation, she interned for a defense attorney to get a glimpse at the opposing side of law before enrolling at Stetson University Law School.

There, she joined the Dispute Resolution Board, an organization where members join teams to partake in pretrial conduct, specifically in client counseling, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. The teams compete on a national level, and Eveld was able to travel to various states to compete against other law schools.

She was later included in The National Order of Barristers, a national honor society whose purpose is to encourage and improve oral advocacy in law school programs. Eveld was chosen as one of the top 10 advocates in Stetson's law school.

Eveld says her purpose in becoming a prosecutor slightly shifted throughout the years, saying her original goal to simply help people and bring justice to victims of crime was not enough. Her passion for prosecution also comes from a desire to keep the community a safe place for everyone to live.

Eveld holds a J.D. from Stetson Law School and passed the bar exam this past summer. With a promising future in law ahead of her, Eveld says her early decision to join the BBC was one of the best decisions she ever made.

"Professional and social skills are so important in being a lawyer," Eveld said. "Being a good communicator is key. I was lucky enough to learn these skills early in college in the BBC, which helped me get a head start.