BUSINESS

Natchez journalism grad follows the law from Capitol Hill to Nashville

Pritchartt’s coworkers at a meeting. Photo by Grafton Pritchartt.

Maddie Cavett
Oxford Stories
mmcavett@go.olemiss.edu

From a job as a legislative corespondent on Capitol Hill to her current position managing strategic projects at a Nashville law firm, Grafton Pritchartt has followed the law, putting to use her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi in journalism and political science.

The Natchez native said she knew she wanted to explore the world, so she attended the University of Mississippi like her grandmother and father did. 

“It’s magnetic…,” she said. “You want to be a part of it, and you can’t even put a finger on why.” 

Pritchartt enrolled in UM as a general business major, but immediately realized she was too creative for that field. 

“It was kind of a happy accident,” she said. “I didn’t have any plans, and sometimes, I still feel like I don’t. I personally just fit the journalism school better. Everyone is so nice, and so open, and so willing, and searching for new experiences.

“Something that the school did that I am not sure that everyone else got to experience as much as we did was the programming. They would pull in publishers from huge newspapers and people like James Meredith to come to speak to us about culture and how far the school has come. Coming from a small town, I was so amazed about being a part of something that I used to read about in history books.”

Pritchartt with a coworker. Submitted photo.

Prtichartt said networking in journalism and integrated marketing communications can lead to job opportunities.

“Every job that I have ever had has been because of an Ole Miss connection,” Pritchartt said. “It has truly made my life so special.”

With passion, but little idea what she wanted to do after college, Pritchartt scored a job in Washington, D.C. and lived there almost a decade. She worked on Capitol Hill for two members of Congress as a legislative correspondent, but knew she wanted something bigger. She then upgraded to a job with the Republican National Committee, working to elect House Republicans. 

“There was a ton of Ole Miss people in that space,” she said. “It was like a tiny Oxford in D.C. I don’t think I could have survived any other way.”

Today, Pritchartt works in Nashville at Bass, Berry & Sims PLC law firm, with offices all over Tennessee and in D.C. The firm specializes in areas that include compliance and government investigations, corporate and securities, COVID-19 response, employee benefits and more.

“Grafton Pritchartt always gives her all when it comes to working in a stressful environment,” said coworker Sandra Pickens. “She is so good at tolerating anything that is thrown at her.”

Pritchartt’s work involves marketing and branding the firm.

“(It’s) … understanding what we need to do as a business to stay ahead of the curve and making sure that we are making very strategic decisions to keep good margins, expand and to deliver for clients,” she said.

Pritchartt with friends and coworkers at an event. Submitted photo.

Basic responsibilities include drafting a bio for the attorney or cleaning up an email list. Bigger things involve rebranding and expanding the Life Sciences practice group, talking to attorneys about new regulations and laws, and helping clients potentially expand their portfolios. 

“It’s so fascinating,” she said. “I love it.”

Pritchartt said she has carried her knowledge of writing and critical thinking in every job she has had since college.

“When I was working on the Hill,” she said, “I was writing mail back to constituents. You can’t have typos in that. I was also structuring, and still am at my current job, persuasive writing. Using proper grammar is so important because so many people don’t know how to do that anymore with the rise of technology.”

Pritchartt said her main goal is keeping up with current marketing and legal trends. It can be challenging as technology advances. She said always be willing to learn new things, be open-minded, and hone your tech skills. 

“I went from making the laws, to electing people to make the laws, to working for attorneys that help people figure out the laws,” she said.

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