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atthew J. Savoie’s bio on the Choate website bears many simi- larities to those of other associates’ at the prestigious Boston law firm.

It lists the accolades he received in law school, his practice areas and some of his professional ac- complishments. When you get to the section la- beled Professional and Community Involvement, something sets him apart. “Before entering law school, Mr. Savoie rep-

resented the United States at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, where he finished in seventh place in men’s singles figure skating,” reads the text — letting the world know that Savoie, a longtime fan favorite in American skat- ing, has found his next niche in the world. “My life is a lot more sedentary, which I was

prepared for,” said Savoie, U.S. junior champi- on, three-time senior medalist, three-time World competitor, and Olympian. “I think the thing that surprises me most is how much the feeling that I had while I was skating — a sort of ner- vousness before an event — comes up a lot more often than what I thought it would not being a competitive athlete.

“I thought that was one thing that might

not be there and I might not feel is that kind of anticipation,” he continued. “You do feel it pretty regularly. I don’t know if this is the work I do. I don’t have a lot of experience in any other profes- sion. You have deadlines to meet or you have a closing to look forward to — all of that does cre- ate similar feelings of anticipation, sometimes ex- citement and sometimes anxiousness. Te same thing was true in skating. “You always get through it and there’s always something to look back on and learn from. Ex- perience does carry forward into the next event, whatever it is. In many ways it’s the same, just less extravagant costumes.” Troughout his competitive skating career,

Savoie, 31, was always known for being studious. He attended regular high school, then earned a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and a master’s from the University of Illinois, all while competing at the highest level. Savoie steadfastly refused to leave home to train — continuing to work with coach Linda Branan throughout his career. When the time came to choose a law school, he decided to try the East Coast, entering Cornell University Law School in upstate New York in the fall of 2006. He had been accepted the year before, but de- ferred admission for a year in the hope of making the 2006 Olympic team. Tat goal accomplished,

8 MAY 2012

he was ready to move on to the next phase of this life.

“Te hardest part of the transition was try- ing to find a way to keep skating in my life in a balanced way when it was no longer going to be the focus of my life,” Savoie said. “When I was skating and in school I knew in the back of my mind that skating was my primary job. I knew I was going to be doing it every day. “When I started law school, suddenly skat- ing was the thing that would fill in the gaps in my time.”

Law school class and study commitments

were more intense than anything he’d previously experienced, but he told himself taking a break at the rink for an hour would be good. Getting ice time was pretty easy. Tere was a rink on campus that he occasionally skated at and a rink about 10 to 15 minutes away in Lansing. He contin- ued to perform from time to time, which eased the transition, although he certainly missed and still misses friends in the sport as well as pushing himself physically. He also stayed connected to skating by serv-

ing a four-year term as an athlete representative to the ISU technical committee. Savoie said that it was the most he ever watched skating in his life, but he felt productive within the sport. “It was really fun to get to talk about skat- ing and talk about the rules and how skaters were interpreting the rules,” he said. “It was really fas- cinating.”

While at Cornell, he received a CALI award for the highest grade in Philosophical Founda- tions of Legal Ethics and was co-recipient of a CALI award in Real Estate Transactions. He was also special issue editor of Cornell Law Review. His practice areas include general corporate and securities matters, private equity and merg- ers and acquisitions. He works with a number of biotech companies, pharmaceutical manufactur- ers and researchers and software companies. Choate is a mid-sized firm that gives Savoie ex- posure to a broad client base, but also enables him to work closely with his clients and other attorneys.

“I think the best way to describe my work

is generally working with companies at different stages of their development,” Savoie said. “One thing that’s been great is I get to work with com- panies that are literally just starting up and secur- ing financing and also companies that might be engaged in transactions with other companies, but they’re so far along they’re either merging or acquiring other companies. All of that comes in a

lot of different forms. “I also get to work with clients pretty direct-

ly, which has been nice at Choate,” he added. “If they have questions, they call you.” Just as figure skating had many nuances to learn and master, so does the practice of law, and Savoie enjoys the challenges — whether it’s drafting an agreement or man- aging the administrative side of a transaction. Early in his legal career things tend to feel new, and he said that’s really interesting. He is also learn- ing how certain skills translate from one situation to another. He decided on Boston because

his fiancé, Brian Boyle, a fellow at- torney and classmate at Cornell (an associate at the law firm Wilm- erHale), grew up in the area, and they both found it to be a great place to build a life together. Tey’re getting married in October. “It’s going to be a new phase in

our life,” Savoie said. “Te one thing I’ve learned to appre- ciate about Boston is how different every neighbor- hood is from the next in a relatively small geographic space. We live in Jamaica Plain (a historic area). We really love the community and getting to learn about the area and making it feel like home.” Unfortunately, there isn’t a rink nearby and at the time of this interview Savoie hadn’t been skating in more than six months. He said he misses it, but he’s OK with that. He hopes to be involved with the sport as a judge, technical spe- cialist or in some other capacity. When asked to name a favorite program

from his competitive days, he said his short pro- gram at the 2005 U.S. Figure Skating Champi- onships in Portland. “I felt like everything in that program felt the way it was supposed to feel,” he said. Savoie is happy that he deferred admis- sion to law school to pursue his Olympic dream. “I made the right decision,” he said.

“Definitely made me feel I could leave the sport feeling like I accomplished ev- erything that I wanted to do.”


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