Extended version: Joe Brennan combines many interests as GC of The Field Museum

A love of law, technology and evolutionary biology equipped Brennan for the role

As a child, Joe Brennan dreamed of becoming a marine biologist, but when a post-college stint as a paralegal at Mayer Brown instead convinced him to attend law school, it appeared that his love of science would remain a personal interest, not a professional calling. Little did he know that, more than a decade later, he would find a job that combined those two passions.

Upon graduating from school, Brennan worked as a litigator, but he found the idea of in-house work more appealing. With only two years of legal experience under his belt, however, he found it difficult to make the transition to corporate law, so he bolstered his business knowledge by taking a job in the City of Chicago’s contracts and commercial law division.

Q: How did you get the job at the Field Museum?

A: All my life, I had had a very profound interest in evolutionary biology and our cultural response and thought process about evolution. So when I heard about the job being available, not only did I have an unusual and very applicable diversity of experience to offer…but I also knew, from a personal avocation standpoint, an enormous amount of evolutionary theory.

Q: What are some of those major projects?

A: We’re building a giant database, and we’ve built a portal so that the public will be able to search our scientific collections and see all the things that we look at when we do our research.

Alanna Byrne

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