Matthew Morris came to College of the Canyons in 2004 as a wide receiver on the football team.
Eleven years later, the former COC Cougar is on the verge of a career breakthrough as the founder of the Morris Law Practice, a San Fernando Valley-based business that’s the logical product of years of dedication and ambition.
“When you open up your own practice it’s important to understand the branding and direction you want to take your company in,” said Morris, a member of the COC paralegal studies program’s first graduating class in 2008.
“I’d been in the legal realm for a few years as a student, clerk and other positions,” added Morris. “I saw a lot of things that I didn’t like about the field, and I began this venture with the idea that we’d do things differently in a way that honors what attorneys with integrity are supposed to bring to the table.”
After spending two years at COC, Morris began taking classes at Santa Monica College, only to return to COC in 2007 when he heard about the new paralegal studies program being started by then-professor Deborah Orlik.
“There’s literally been nothing like what I experienced (at COC),” Morris said. “The professors actually cared and wanted to see you do well, and the quality of the learning environment was something that I hadn’t experienced up until that point — which really, really pushed me.”
Upon completing his time as a community college student, Morris started ambitiously tackling his dream of becoming a law professional.
In the fall of 2008, he enrolled at the University of California at Riverside, a move that led to one of the most physically challenging chapters of the young law student’s life.
At that time Morris and his two-year-old child were unable to find housing near the Riverside campus, and were subsequently placed on an 18-month-long waiting list.
Because he was a transfer student, and his window of time in college was limited to begin with, Morris elected to keep his family in Santa Clarita and make the 174 mile round trip commute to class.
“I only knew Matthew for a short time, but it was enough to give me the impression that he was someone who would do whatever it takes to achieve his goals and dreams,” said Nicole Faudree, chair of the college’s paralegal studies department. “I know that it took a lot of sacrifice, but the rewards are endless.”
After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, Morris passed the LSAT and completed his academic career at Southwestern Law School.
Morris spent his initial post-college years in an insurance litigation firm, while also racking up other professional achievements.
The former COC football player, who is now a husband and father of three, clerked for a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge as well as for Business and Legal Affairs at NBC Universal Film Music before opening his own business in 2014.
“When you start your own firm, it doesn’t really have that conventional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. rhythm,” added Morris. “The business just doesn’t stop and it’s exciting to pursue. This was just a vision that came to me piece by piece, and thankfully things lined up.”