MSU law professor serves as assistant solicitor general
A strong, determined and intelligent woman, Ann Sherman started her successful life and career from simple, humble beginnings.
“I came from a family of four kids and a single mom and I always saw my mom working so hard to give us the life we deserved,” Sherman said. “Before my parents’ divorce, my dad was a patent engineer, so we lived in an affluent neighborhood. After the divorce, we had a very simple lifestyle and wanted for a lot. This has caused me to know a lot of extremes throughout my life.”
Sherman said her childhood taught her many things she still uses in her life today.
“I came out of my childhood with a strong sense of family and loyalty and a very strong work ethic,” she said. “My childhood is the reason I do the work I do today.”
Sherman arrived at her work by taking a winding path.
Before she was a lawyer, Sherman was a trained classical flutist.
“Obviously, I didn’t do this for the money,” she said. “I did it for what I could impart in the people who listened to my music.”
After Sherman received her bachelor of fine arts in music from the University of South Florida, she went on to get two masters. Her first masters degree was in music theory pedagogy from USF and her second was a masters of music in flute performance and literature from Northwestern University.
Right after her graduation, Sherman moved to Mexico for four years to start her orchestral career.
“It was amazing,” Sherman said. “I was able to immerse myself in the culture and I didn’t feel like a tourist at all. ... I went to and played in different villages and beautiful concert halls and learned so much about music.”
Eventually, Sherman found her way to East Lansing. After having three kids and going through a divorce, Sherman decided to go to law school at MSU as a 40-year-old single mom.
“It was challenging and rejuvenating to be around so many young people, but I was different because while they had free time, I had to come home and run a household and take care of my kids,” Sherman said. “In hindsight, I don’t know how I did it. ... I hope my kids were old enough to know their mom was working hard to give them a better life.”
When Sherman graduated, she had her pick of amazing jobs but she immediately chose to work at the Attorney General’s Office.
“I found meaning in the work of serving the people of the state of Michigan,” Sherman said.
Now, as an adjunct law professor and an assistant solicitor general in the department of the attorney general, Sherman said she loves her life and loves the work she is doing.
“Whether you are high in the government or you are in law enforcement, it is a unique value to serve the people,” Sherman said. “To me it’s a vocation, not a job.”
She said both government work and being a professor are similar in that they both seek to help people.
“I want to impart to my students that it’s not about who has the most talent but about who makes the most of what they have,” she said. “My students are very bright and will have many job offers, and I think public service will be a high calling for many of them.”