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Washington DC Semester Week: Spotlight on Kyle Matous (JD '12)

Kyle Matous (JD '12)
Externship: Institute for Justice
Current Job: Senior Director, US Government Relations at the ONE Campaign
Location: Washington, DC

I spent my 3L year in the DC program, during which I clerked at the Institute for Justice, a public-interest, civil-liberties law firm over the river in Arlington. There, I assisted with a variety of cases and legal research in economic liberty, private property, school choice, and free speech rights. Although I ultimately went into politics and lobbying instead of practicing law, the work I did at IJ greatly informed a successful lawsuit that I helped shape on behalf of the House of Representatives based on unlawful spending by the executive branch, in violation of Congress's appropriation power.

The most direct way in which my DC experience benefited my career was that Professor Hunt introduced me to the then-Chief of Staff to the then-Chairman of the House Committee on Rules—one of the most powerful positions in Congress, because the Rules Committee is instrumental in setting the agenda for the House. The Chief of Staff and I had two "informational interviews"—DC speak for "get-to-know-you networking opportunities"—and he hired me on the spot during the second one. I started as a staff assistant for the Committee, which is the standard entry-level job on Capitol Hill. Three years later, I found myself Chief of Staff for the new Rules Committee Chairman; at the time, I believe I was the youngest Chief of Staff for a committee chair.

After working on Capitol Hill for nearly six years, I moved to the ONE Campaign, a non-profit grassroots organization founded by Bono that's dedicated to ending extreme poverty and preventable disease, where I'm presently the Senior Director of the US Government-Relations team. In that capacity, I work daily with Members of Congress and their staff.


Washington, D.C., Externship Semester Week!

This week we are highlighting five alumni, one each day, who have used DC as the launching point for great careers. If you like what you hear and want the chance for a similar experience, reach out to Professor Hunt (nancy.hunt@pepperdine.edu) for more information. The DC Semester will run this spring. We are currently planning for on-the-ground classes, and will be monitoring health and safety guidelines to inform our final decision.