Valentine Reflections from Christi and Bryan

Christi Cassel (’08) and Bryan Skeen (’08) live in Atlanta with their two-year-old. They were voted “Cutest Couple” by their brilliant law school class. They celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary this year.

BRYAN: Christi was the last law student in our class that I saw.

CHRISTI: And Bryan was one of the first that I saw.

1LsoftballBRYAN: She was, as she so often is, fashionably late to orientation week.

CHRISTI: [rolling eyes] I missed the morning of the first day. Because I was on an airplane, flying in from the South Pacific. I had a good excuse.

BRYAN: That morning, Dean Reveley had mentioned that there was one unnamed student who would be late for orientation. He didn’t say why. Christi was already intriguing and a mystery.

CHRISTI: I went immediately from the airport, disheveled and jet-lagged, to the law school. In the lobby, my roommate introduced me to Bryan.engagement

BRYAN: Despite being disheveled and jet-lagged, she was striking and witty. The intrigue continued. I asked her out.

CHRISTI: And he was sarcastic and had piercing blue eyes. How could I say no? Our first date was to the Fat Canary, the nicest restaurant in Williamsburg. Bryan was clearly trying to impress me.

BRYAN: It must have worked. Two years later, I proposed to her after we’d had another dinner at the Fat Canary.

CHRISTI: In between those two dinners, we didn’t share any law school classes, but we were on the 1L softball team, were Moot Court partners, were on an undefeated fundraising flip-cup team, and shared countless adventures.

BRYAN: There were also lots of other dinners at the Fat Canary. I highly recommend it.

CHRISTI: We got married at The Homestead a few months after graduating, surrounded by lots of William & Mary friends. That was ten years ago.

familyBRYAN: So that’s the secret to happiness: Show up late, go after the disheveled, witty girl, and have lots of expensive meals along the way.

CHRISTI: And go to William & Mary Law School.

Alumnae Share Advice at Law School’s Annual Leadership Conference

by David F. Morrill, Assistant Director of Law School Communications. Republished with permission from the Communications Office.

Career and Life

Julie Silverbrook ’12, Kristine Kippins ’05 and Robin Dusek ’98 talked with students about “Using the Lawyer’s Toolkit to Do Good Works.”

Cultivating mentors and champions. Developing essential soft skills. Building an authentic personal brand. These are just some of the things law students have to consider as they begin their careers.

And consider them they did, and more, at the Law School’s Fifth Annual Leadership Conference on Friday, January 27.

The day-long event—entitled  “Intentionality & Serendipity: Creating a Career and a Life”—saw 15 alumnae return to campus to share advice, strategies, and career wisdom with students and guests alike.

“It’s not a traditional conference where all day long you listen to a bunch of people speak,” said William & Mary Law Dean Davison M. Douglas during his welcome remarks. “This is a conference that is highly interactive.”

Panel discussions were held in one of the Law School’s large classrooms and the McGlothlin Courtroom. Attendees could learn strategies for becoming either a BigLaw partner, an entrepreneur, or an in-house counsel, and could delve into ways of using law skills to do good works and seek elected office.

Twelve breakout sessions also allowed alumnae and students to dig deeper into issues of common concern, and to learn from each other. Among the many questions addressed were “How Does a Newcomer Make Small Talk With Partners and Clients?” and “How are Summer Associates Really Judged?”

The lunchtime keynote address was provided by Amy Greer J.D. ’89. A partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Greer discussed the intentionality and serendipity of “getting from here to there” in a career that has taken her from a big firm to her own firm to a regional firm to the government and then back to Big Law.

“You need to be sure what your skills are, you need to work hard, and you need to reap the benefits of that hard work,” Greer said.

Courtney Lynch ’03, Laura Jacobson ’11, and Brooke Rodgers ’05 held a panel session on “Becoming an Entrepreneur.”

As one of many students who attended the conference, Ana María Matías J.D. ’17 said she enjoyed getting to meet “incredibly talented, brave, and successful” William & Mary Law alums.

“It was reassuring to hear that although the legal arena is so expansive, staying true to yourself and your values will ultimately allow you to find the career path that’s right for you,” Matias said. “Hearing these inspiring women made me feel optimistic about my future.”

Kristin Hopkins J.D. ’18 was equally positive in her assessment.

“This year’s Leadership Conference was nothing less than exceptional!” Hopkins said. “Having the opportunity to be one on one with of the Law School’s most distinguished alumnae was not only inspiring, but also fruitful because I was able to get advice and make lasting connections with women who were in my shoes not too long ago.”

The conference is the fifth in a series of annual events that feature women in law. The first, “Women in Big Law,” was held in 2012 in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the graduation of Virginia Mister, the first woman student at William & Mary Law School.

Subsequent conferences included “Lawyers in In-House Practice” in 2013, “Lawyers as Leaders” in 2014 and “Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done” in 2016.

The event was sponsored by William & Mary Law School, Office of the Dean, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs, Office of Career Services, William & Mary Business Law Review, William & Mary Journal of Women & the Law, Student Bar Association (SBA), Black Law Students Association (BLSA), Latino Law Students Association (LLSA), Public Service Fund (PSF), William & Mary Women’s Law Society, and the William & Mary National Trial Team.

“We are really grateful that 15 of our alumnae are with us today,” Dean Douglas said. “We’ve been doing this for five years, and what’s interesting is that each year we bring in a new group for the most part…. We have such a fantastic number of alumnae who are eager to participate.”

Read the original story here.