Vince Aprile

Vince Aprile graduated from Bellarmine with a B.A. in English in 1965. Vince graduated from the University of Louisville Law School with a J.D. degree in 1968 and in 1973 earned an LL.M. in Criminal Law, Criminology and Psychiatry from the George Washington University National Law Center. After earning his J.D. degree, he spent almost five years in the Army serving as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps litigating at courts-martial in South Korea and doing appellate work in northern Virginia. In June 1973 he became a public defender in the headquarters of the fledgling Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy in Frankfort, Kentucky. Vince served as the Department’s inaugural director of its appellate section, its first director of training and for seventeen years the agency’s general counsel, while also representing indigent criminal defendants at trial and on appeal in the courts of both Kentucky and the federal system. Vince retired after thirty years with the Department (1973-2003) and went into private practice where he primarily practices criminal law. In addition to writing countless pretrial motions and appellate briefs in his almost fifty years as an attorney, for the last twenty-five years (1992-2017) Vince has written a column, Criminal Justice Matters, for Criminal Justice magazine, a quarterly publication of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section, which is read by judges, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, academics and others involved in the criminal justice system. Vince also is a nationally known continuing legal education presenter, having trained lawyers in over thirty-five states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada and Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg).

What other majors/minors/tracks did you have beyond English?

As a freshman, I thought I would major in history and did take some history courses. I quickly realized that an English major would be more valuable to me in my intended career as an attorney. I attended Bellarmine on a debate scholarship and represented Bellarmine nationally for four years as a member of the varsity debate team. I also wrote reviews of movies and local plays for The Concord, Bellarmine’s student newspaper. I also authored a humor column for The Concord under a pseudonym. Debating and writing for the student newspaper complemented my studies as an English major as each reinforced the others. While a member of the Bellarmine varsity debate team, I devoted substantial time to coaching other team members. I also wrote a short story for Bellarmine’s then literary magazine, The Flagon.

What is your current job?

Since 2003 when I retired after thirty years with the state public defender program, I have been in private practice as a lawyer with Lynch, Cox, Gilman and Goodman, P.S.C., in Louisville, Kentucky, primarily practicing criminal law at the trial and appellate level in both the Kentucky state courts and various federal courts. I also do some civil litigation and administrative law.

In what ways was your degree valuable in preparing you for your career?

As an English major, my studies were valuable in enhancing my writing abilities, improving my analytical skills, sharpening my appreciation and understanding of the human condition, and expanding my sense of empathy. As a litigator, I rely heavily on composing persuasive, often complex, motions and briefs whether in a trial court or before an appellate tribunal. From 1975 - 1983, I was an adjunct professor at the University of Louisville Law School, alternating two seminar courses per year. One seminar that I created was Written Advocacy, which focused on teaching law students how to write persuasive, analytical, and clear motions, replies, orders, briefs, etc. I have been fortunate to represent four clients in cases before the United States Supreme Court that involved writing petitions for certiorari and preparing briefs in advance of oral arguments. I won two and lost two. I believe that my skills that are so important in jury trials and appellate oral arguments were also strengthened by my studies as an English major.

What was your favorite experience as an English major?

Perhaps my most memorable experience was the result of my particular situation. As an English major, I was the only student in my English seminars who had no interest in becoming an English professor. I knew it, my fellow English majors knew it and my professors knew it. I was committed to becoming a lawyer. As a result, I always felt, whether correct or not, that I approached our English assignments from a different perspective than my contemporaries. Not a better perspective, just a different perspective. I also feel that I benefitted so much from experiencing the various analyses of novels and poems by my fellow students reflecting how differently individuals process the same stimulus and reach such different conclusions.

Any advice for current majors or those considering an English degree?

My legal career has had many divergent branches, such as teaching at the college and graduate level, training attorneys across the nation through seminars and programs, serving as a member of two national federal court committees as an appointee of the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, writing a magazine column for 25 years, and authoring other articles and a book chapter. Throughout I have always believed that my liberal arts education at Bellarmine and majoring in English prepared and seasoned me for any career challenge. The knowledge and mental discipline that an English major can learn is a formidable educational background for a multitude of careers.