Going to law school but not becoming a lawyer may seem peculiar. However, LSU alumnus David Zito has made the most of his juris doctorate.
Zito serves as the chief of staff for Craig Greene, commissioner of the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) in District 2. He started working with Greene in February 2019 and has assisted the commissioner in political and governmental matters. After receiving his bachelor’s in political science from LSU, Zito attended Mississippi College School of Law where he obtained his law degree.
Zito began law school with no intention of becoming an attorney and advises college students to consider doing the same. The knowledge gained in law school transfers to being more than a lawyer. It provides training in logical thinking.
While at law school, Zito studied policy issues, health care and international law. He applies his knowledge of these topics to his role in government. Although people have questioned him on why he devoted time and money into law school without becoming a practicing lawyer, he said it was a great choice for his career.
“Once you have a JD, you can get any job within government,” Zito said.
He said his law school experience helps him understands the legal ramifications of policy decisions and taught him how to analyze subject matter and think critically about issues.
Besides law school, Zito applies what he learned from studying abroad. He participated in academic programs in China, Cuba, Germany, France and Korea. He recommends such opportunities because they gave him different perspectives about diverse people and cultures.
While searching for a job, Zito knew that he did not want to work for someone who was at the extreme left or right of the political spectrum and would blindly go with a political party’s preferences. Instead, he wanted a role that would allow him to research critical issues and decide the best plan of action. He found that opportunity with Greene and LPSC.
“I wanted to research, and I wanted to figure out what the principal issues are and answers to those are and see how we can affect change throughout Louisiana,” he said. “That met up with Commissioner Greene’s goals.”
LPSC serves the public by providing responsible and reasonably priced public utilities and motor carrier services. The commissioner is expected to ensure an equal opportunity for all Louisiana residents to receive sufficient utilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zito and Greene had to figure out how to encourage Louisiana residents to pay their utility bills after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a disconnection moratorium. The governor’s decision meant that Louisiana residents would not be cut off from utility services because of not paying a bill.
Zito also works with Greene to lower electricity bills for residents who need assistance. On average, an electricity bill in Louisiana can cost more than $100. Zito works with Greene to ensure that Louisiana residents can afford their electricity bills.
Zito attributes his interest in politics to a desire to help people. Through his time with LPSC and thanks to his legal training, he has achieved that aspiration.
“I have the best job for me in the world,” he said. “I get to read through hundreds of pages of legal documents every day without having to make any legal decisions. I get to make policy decisions, and those policies decisions can often have legal ramifications. My JD helps me understand those legal ramifications.”