Trent Latta ('03), Attorney, Actor, and Writer
How did you get into philosophy?
My relationship with philosophy has a serendipitous beginning. I came to Western in 2000 intent on pursuing a major in Theater Arts. My head was filled with monologues from Tennessee Williams and my compulsion to be the center of attention exceeded what the DSM-5 considers “within normal limits.”
As it turned out, however, my first class was not offered by the theater department. Instead, my first course was Introduction to Philosophy: Moral Issues. In that stuffy first floor room in the Humanities Building, Hud Hudson gave this spellbound student a good soaking of Feldman, Singer, and the Trolley Problem.
I threw out Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares and grabbed Taylor’s Metaphysics. I loved philosophy more than anything, even more than studying for exams or getting good grades.
What have you been up to recently?
I’m married and I have two children. My wife also has two children. They’re the same two children. We have two children together and we’re thinking of having fewer. We’ve been trying for about a year now, but thus far, we’ve not been so fortunate.
Concerning my career, I practiced law in San Francisco for several years, then moved to Seattle in 2010. I climbed the ranks of my civil law firm and became a partner in 2016. The legal industry, however, with its long hours of working alone, tackling difficult issues with potentially life-changing consequences for clients demanded more than I had to give the pursuit.
In April 2021, I left my firm and now I work with select clients as part of my own private practice. I also pursue my creative interests, such as stand-up comedy, acting in film, television, and stage productions, and freelance writing. I’m currently preparing a comedic novel that I authored for publication. The book chronicles the adventure a hapless, but not hopeless, young attorney takes for his motely set of clients.
Through it all, I still find ample time for my greatest passion: the compulsion to be the center of attention.
How do you think your background in philosophy helped prepare you for the kind of work you are doing now?
No better educational background at Western could have prepared me for law school and my subsequent practice than my philosophy degree. The similarities are apparent: both disciplines demand a commitment to deep, critical thinking and applied analyses, and the ability to consume coffee in quarts.
What advice would you give other students considering philosophy as a field of study?
Philosophy, as a field of study, requires exemplary writing skills. You can improve your writing, and excel on exams, by always putting the funniest word at the end of the sentence underpants. If you do not have a love for the written word, then consider business school, where the pay is greater and the challenges easier. Or even better, Western is always accepting students to its Theater Arts program!