Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Archive: Job Shadow Day

We are pleased to announce that we will be having Job Shadow Day this year with Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (, an acclaimed national law firm with headquarters in NYC, on November 11, 2011 from 2-4 p.m. at their offices downtown.  Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with attorneys, meet the recruiter and learn more about life at a law firm.  Everyone is open to apply.To apply, please email your resume and a brief paragraph stating why you would like to attend Job Shadow Day to prelaw@columbia.eduby 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 4.  We will then notify shortly after if you have been chosen to attend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 Blog Archive: Panel Discussion

Christelle Dorcil from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Sagar Patel from Seward & Kissel
Courtney Browne from Skadden
Katie Fernandez from Mayer Brown

When did you realize you were interested in the law?

CB: I didn’t want to go into law. Instead, I went to business school at Vanderbilt, worked for 3 years as a financial analyst. I thought about getting a Ph.D. in economics but found myself more interested in law.

KF: I liked to argue. I graduated from CC in 2006, doing Political Science, which inspired me.

SP: I didn’t think about it until my last year of college. I had an internship at a legal publishing place. I really didn’t like the publishing aspect, but the law aspect interested me a lot. I tried different internships, got a job as a paralegal, and then decided to go to law school. 

CD: It was always in the back of my head. I studied PR but when it was time to make post-grad decisions I decide to go to law school because a JD could open up new career doors. I really enjoyed the legal side of business transactions, especially finance. As far as rewarding experience, there’s a lot to be said for pro-bono work and the great resources that are put towards a good cause. I have done immigration work for Haitians in NYC, which meant a lot to me.

What is the most gratifying part[s] of your career?

CB: The whole process, the life of a deal, the cycle of a deal. The opportunities to do pro-bono work. You can do the big firm work but also something beneficial on top of just your day job.

KF: When you’re actually helping people every day in public interest, you feel great. Also the pro-bono aspects of corporate law are really rewarding. The feeling of working with the smartest people in the field, the intellectual gratification, make going to work a great experience. It’s definitely different from those in non-corporate jobs but great nonetheless.

SP: The intellectual stimulation – people have many diverse interests. In this profession, even in the corporate world, they encourage the merging of corporate and pro-bono work. (The money is also good too!)

How did you spend your summers/ how would you reccommend undergraduates spend their summers? 

CB: There’s no real key or anything specifically law related you should do. Just make sure you’re doing something that’s work your time. You should be pretty productive. I worked in different banking environments in the summer. In law school I spent my first and second summers working in different firms. In the first summer at I was at a smaller based firm and the second summer Skadden.

KF: What you do doesn’t have to be law related, but do something that is interesting and worthwhile. Set yourself apart from other candidates. Since I wasn’t sure about my career path, I worked for an attorney to get a good idea of how the law worked.

SP: Don’t focus on trying to do legal work. Instead, look for things that are interesting to you. A good way to know that law school is right for you is by exploring different fields through internships That said it doesn’t hurt to do legal work to introduce yourself to the field because it’s very different from the way it [law work] is publicized on TV. 

CD: I worked all of my summers on campus in various higher admin positions and community service work separately. While at law school I worked at a smaller firm.

What about taking a year or two off?

CB: I took three years off. I really enjoyed going. Take a couple of years off to critically think about your decisions!

KF: I didn’t take a year off but other people I knew did, and they were much more “mentally ready for it”

SP: Took two years off which helped me realize what working as a lawyer was like. However, I don’t think a legal job is the only way to go. Explore your own interests and follow your heart for a few years instead of going straight to law school/focusing on law school straight away.

CD: I went straight through but saw that people who did take time off. Those people were better at articulating why they decided to do law/what field of law they were interested in. 

How is law school different?

CB: The assignments were different. You must be disciplined in a different way. 

FK: Finals were 100% of your grade. Most classes are taught by the Socratic Method. It’s a completely different academic experience. There’s really not much liberty in the classes you’re taking.

Sp: Undergraduate is a fun exploration. In law school, they give you your courses. The Socratic Method is everywhere, and everyone is hitting the books at the library. Everyone is actually working. Pressure is there because everything is based on one exam. 

CD: Everyone is taking the same classes, applying for the same jobs. You feel like you have to do things because everyone else is doing them. So you have to find the balance of what is thrown at you. You just need to keep perspective. 

Given the current state of the economy- what about jobs?

CB: It’s definitely harder to get a job. The market changes things but a lot of the bigger firms are pretty creative with their hiring, and there are other opportunities. 

KF: Companies are watching what they are spending. Parties are coming together more than usual. That being said things are being differently and different parts of law are busier than ever. Because the market has changed, the better law school you get into, the better changes you have at getting those jobs. Take the LSAT extremely seriously!!! 

SP: Being able to get a job in the law is much harder than before. That’s definitely something to consider. The work you do depends on the practice you do. The state of the economy might change the type of clients you have and what kind of law you practice. 

CD: Deals are cut faster, clients are looking at your work product and that you are providing value. The changes that are occurring deal with the type of work. 

How many hours did you work a week/ What about dual degree programs? 

CB: Work hours vary depending on practice. As far as dual degree programs, they’re not a requirement but they are nice. 

CD: In terms of two degrees, be prepared to ask questions about which degree you are leaning towards. 

What about your next step will do public interest or... ? 

CB: I’m thinking about it but it’s hard to leave the corporate sector when you have worked in it for so long.

KF: It’s hard to leave a job that I really enjoy and get paid well..but I don’t think I’ll stay in it forever.

SP: The work is relatively satisfying. Many people consider leaving, but many attorneys get used to the lifestyle and it’s hard to leave.

CD: If a public interest opportunity came up I would do it. However public interest law takes a different toll on you. 

Are you HAPPY? 

CB: I’m happy but you need to decide if it is right for you, obviously

KF: On average, I’m very happy going to work and doing the work I do.

SP: Same as CB and KF. I work at a smaller law firm, so my hours are more reasonable. 

CD: I’m overall very happy with my work and what I’m doing and the direction of my career. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Archive: Panel Discussion with Associates

Come to hear 2nd and 3rd year associates discuss the transition from Law School to four prestigious corporate law firms. These associates will offer their perspectives on entering the professional field after school and offer advice for undergraduate pre-law students. 

The panelists are as follows:
Christelle Dorcil from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Sagar Patel from Seward & Kissel
Courtney Browne from Skadden
Katie Fernandez from Mayer Brown

There will also be free Nussbaum bagels!

Check out the Facebook event and our page for more information.

Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 Archive: Job Shadow Day

We are partnering with Barclays Capital for Job Shadow Day this year.  Students will get the opportunity to speak with current Legal Analysts, meet the Legal Recruiter, and learn more about their Summer Analyst program.  The event will take place on Friday, November 18 from 12-2 p.m.   Students should be undergraduate juniors (graduating May 2013) with a GPA of 3.2 or higher and interested in pursuing a legal internship this upcoming summer and a law degree in the future.  Students interested in participating must apply online on the Barclays Capital website for the Barclays NY Legal Summer Analyst program and submit their resume to by Monday, November 7.  

As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me or the board at  And like our Facebook page

Also, stay tuned for our next Corporate Law Pane: Transitioning from Law School to the Firm!