We asked several of our 1Ls and 2Ls to discuss the role W&L Law has played in their summer employment search. Adrienne Adkins, a 2L from Richwood, West Virginia, offers us her perspective.
I attended Washington and Lee University as an undergraduate, so four years later when deciding where to go to law school, I jumped at the chance to return to my alma mater. I was aware of the difficulties in the legal market, yet I was confident in the reputation, staff, and alumni network of W&L and the legal education that I would obtain to help me secure employment in this challenging marketplace. And I have not been let down.
Following my 1L year, I was open to new possibilities as I was still learning the law, but I wanted to expand on the business base I had built during my undergraduate work and through my previous career as an assurance associate at Ernst & Young. During the school year, I met with a counselor from the Office of Career Planning (OCP) who helped me identify some potential opportunities in the public sector to explore my interests. The counselor also helped guide me through several of the school’s online resources for job postings, including a database called Symplicity. After perusing the sites, I noted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was taking applications for their Summer Legal Honors Program. I graduated from W&L with a degree in accounting and business management and spent the following three years auditing and advising a publicly-held company, so the SEC seemed like a perfect fit for me. Before submitting my application materials, I asked my counselor in OCP to review them, which she did within 24 hours. Further, I signed up for a mentorship program through OCP, where 1Ls are assigned an alumni mentor. Interested alumni work with OCP to remain connected to the students and to provide advice on careers, classes, interviewing techniques, etc. I reached out to my mentor about possible job routes I should consider for the summer, and before my SEC interview, he provided advice on how best to prepare. I ended up spending the summer after my 1L year working in the Division of Enforcement at the SEC in Washington, DC.
Before I had even finished my first internship, the race to find the next job had begun. Prior to the start of the application process, I called my OCP counselor to discuss my application strategy. W&L offers several regional interviewing programs, in addition to the traditional on-campus interviewing (OCI). I participated in the Northeastern Interview Program in New York City, where both firms and several public interest employers participated. After receiving initial interview offers, I again relied on my counselor to help me prepare on the types of questions to expect, how best to tailor certain answers, and even what to wear. I also participated in OCI. When I was fortunate enough to receive call-back interviews and different job opportunities, my counselor was one of the first people I called. She was incredibly amenable to all of my requests. For example, I would be on the train from one callback to another and would not know how to properly address an issue, but she was there to answer my call and assist me through the process. She also helped me prioritize and decide what type of job was a good fit for me, my personality and my career goals, and she was able to do so based on her experience, not only as a counselor, but also as a practicing attorney. In the end, I decided to go with a firm that I applied to through Symplicity—the same way I applied to the SEC. I did a “resume drop,” got the call from Davis Polk & Wardwell and off to New York I went. I will be working as a summer associate in the firm’s New York office this summer. I am excited to build off of my prior work experience and my experience at the SEC to further explore my legal interests, and I know my counselor will be there if I have any questions along the way.