Networking and Summer Work After 1L Year

robert jonesby Robbie Jones, Class of 2018

My name is Robbie Jones, and I am a rising 2L. I am from DeLand, Florida (just outside Orlando).  Before coming to William & Mary, I attended Stetson University in Florida where I received my B.A. in Political Science in 2014.  While an undergrad, I worked for my local Congressman and interned with a state circuit court judge. I came to William & Mary because I felt the strong sense of community when I visited the school.  At William & Mary, I am on Law Review and the Moot Court team.  I am also an Academic Success Program TA.  Some of my favorite non-law school activities are sports, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

The summer job search can be an exciting, yet daunting activity for a 1L.  After all, I had just barely figured out how to adequately prepare for classes, and it was time for me to start thinking about what I wanted to do during the summer.  Of course, the Office of Career Services (OCS) was giving us all the help and advice we needed, but it was still a big decision to think about.  I knew I wanted to try to work for a federal judge if possible, so I figured the best place to start would be looking for William & Mary alumni who were judges.  Fortunately, I found Judge Gregory Presnell, a United States District Judge, located in Orlando who is also an undergrad alum from William & Mary.   I reached out to the judge, interviewed during winter break and was hired before I headed back for school!

The lesson I learned through all of this is the importance of just reaching out to people already in the profession.  When I reached out to Judge Presnell, he agreed to meet with me without knowing my grades, involvement at school, or really anything.  I saw firsthand the greatness of the W&M alumni network.  As important as credentials are, I’ve learned that this is a profession where connections matter.  All it took was sending an email to a federal judge (and the W&M connection!) to realize my summer job goal.

Now that I’m working, I have learned so much.  Judge Presnell gives me hands-on experience and treats me just like one of his law clerks. I have written court orders, given my input on pending issues, and observed almost every type of court proceeding in existence.  Judge Presnell will definitely be a mentor of mine long after my internship is finished.   Having a first-year summer job in a place that allows you to see the practical side of the legal profession is a priceless experience. I am so thankful to William & Mary for providing me with such great opportunities thus far!

Douglas E. Brown ’71, J.D. ’74: Actively Engaged in Helping the Next Generation

Brown_475x265Blog post reproduced with permission of the Communications Office

A loyal and proud alumnus, Doug Brown spends significant time in retirement actively involved with the William & Mary community. Like many alums, Brown feels grateful and happy to give his time and resources to the alma mater that gave him so much.

A scroll through Brown’s LinkedIn profile reveals a successful career and an impressive list of volunteer appointments, most of which are with William & Mary.

“I owe a lot to William & Mary and I want to give back,” says Brown. “Having the College on my resumé made a huge difference in my career.”

Originally from Marion, Indiana, Brown received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from William & Mary in 1971.

“I grew up in the Midwest and I wanted to broaden my horizons,” he says. “William & Mary was the best choice. I liked the campus, the academic programs, and, of course, the basketball scholarship the College offered me.”

After Brown graduated, he immediately continued his studies at the Law School, where he also received a scholarship and was a member of the William & Mary Law Review and Phi Alpha Delta.

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer and I was already in the academic routine,” says Brown. “I applied to another law school but I chose William & Mary Law and never regretted it.”

After graduation, he worked for Shanley & Fisher, a large insurance defense firm in New Jersey, where he handled medical malpractice and product liability insurance defense litigation. In 1977, Brown began his nearly 33-year career with the General Motors Legal Staff in Detroit.

“Being a corporate lawyer fit me quite nicely,” he says. “But if you had told me when I started at W&M Law about the wide variety of matters I would handle as a corporate lawyer, I would have had trouble believing it.”

During his GM career, Brown managed product litigation cases, certain regulatory matters, and also negotiated and drafted product responsibility agreements with several of GM’s international business partners. He also traveled world-wide, and spoke about U.S. product liability litigation to numerous GM business units, and also companies doing business with GM, in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and Sweden.

“I started my volunteer work before I retired because I wanted to stay busy,” he recalls. “William & Mary has meant so much to me that it was an obvious choice when I wanted to give back.”

Brown was recently elected Vice President of the Law School Foundation, following a term as Secretary/Treasurer. He chairs the Foundation’s Development Committee and is a member of the Law School’s Campaign Steering Committee. He also has been active in the Law School’s Alumni Ambassador and Co- Counsel Mentoring programs, and has co-chaired several of his Law School and undergraduate reunion gift committees. Brown served seven years on William & Mary’s Annual Giving Board of Directors, chaired the Board for two years, and is a Class Ambassador for his undergraduate class.

“I love being part of the William & Mary community and working as a liaison for William & Mary in Michigan,” says Brown, who has served as the College’s Alumni Admissions Network representative for southeastern Michigan. “Today’s students are exceptionally smart and well-qualified.”

Brown believes that having William & Mary on his resumé twice, for undergraduate and law degrees, has been enormously valuable in his career.

“There is tremendous name recognition and prestige that comes with the William & Mary name, especially in the Midwest,” he says. “I’m very thankful for the scholarships and other opportunities William & Mary gave me.”

A generous contributor to the College and Law School, Brown took his support to another level by establishing The Douglas E. and Escha J. Brown Law Scholarship Endowment.

“The scholarship is available to any student with financial need who maintains good academic standing,” says Brown. “I wanted to keep the requirements as flexible as possible.” The scholarship was fully funded in 2014.

“This past fall I had the pleasure of meeting Ethan Smith (’18), the first recipient of the scholarship,” he says. “Attending William & Mary on a scholarship changed my life and I look forward to doing the same for others.”

Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done — 4th Annual Leadership Conference

hopkinsby Kristin Hopkins, Class of 2018

This past March, William & Mary Law School hosted the 4th Annual Leadership Conference. This year’s theme was “Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done,” and over 40 of our most distinguished alumnae shared their stories and advice to law students and professors. As a student shadow, I had the opportunity to host an alumna throughout the day, attend different  sessions, and attend a lunch with all the presenters.

My favorite session, Closing A Big Deal, featured female lawyers from Washington, D.C., New York City, and Delaware. They spoke most what it meant to them to “close a big deal.” Their responses ranged anywhere from getting exactly what their client wanted to just finishing a case they had been working on for months! This was also my favorite session because, as corporate women, they also talked a lot about their family life and how you don’t have to choose between your career and raising your children. As a budding female attorney, this was very assuring as I plan to enter the legal field.

leadershipconference_03Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to speak with many alumnae who are working, or have worked, in the particular legal field I am interested in, and I even set up some meetings with them during the summer!

All in all, the Leadership Conference was an excellent day, not just for the networking opportunities, but to gain inspiration and advice from lawyers who were in my position not too long ago. I highly encourage all William & Mary Law students to take advantage of the conference next year!

Read the news story here.

Making the Journey Together: Claire and Justin’s Story

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

Every year around Valentine’s Day, Get Wythe It shares the stories of students who are in love in law school, and that number is even higher than you may think. Statistically speaking, over 25% of William & Mary alumni end up marrying each other! While most meet their future spouses on one of William & Mary’s campuses, 2Ls Claire Hunter and Justin Lashley were already ahead of the curve when they applied. Having met in undergrad, they knew that the best way to tackle the struggles and triumphs of law school would be to do it together.

Justin and Claire first met during their sophomore year at Dartmouth College. At that time they knew each other as friendly acquaintances; it wasn’t until the fall of their senior year that they reconnected and started dating. Justin was the Treasurer of his fraternity, and Claire was the President of her sorority. In true fairy tale fashion, their organizations’ houses were right across the street from one another. As their undergraduate careers were ending, their story was just beginning.

JustinClaireAfter graduation, Justin and Claire worked in New York City for a year. Claire, originally from Australia, wanted to be closer to her family, so she and Justin then got jobs in Sydney. Justin was grateful for the opportunity to get to know Claire’s friends and family, and Claire enjoyed being home after years of studying in the United States. After about a year in Sydney, Claire and Justin decided that they wanted to go to law school. Rather than pursuing a long distance relationship, the couple applied to the same schools, planning to go together. Both were excited to find out they had been admitted to William & Mary. Though they loved city life, they knew they wanted to study law in a quieter, more close-knit community, which made William & Mary the perfect fit.

Justin and Claire came to the law school as a couple, but they are pursuing their individual interests, are involved in different clubs and organizations. They have formed groups of friends on their own, while sharing mutual friends as well. They enjoy having each other as a support system, being able to study together, and discuss all they are learning.

In March of 2015, after spending a nice day in Richmond, Justin proposed to Claire at College Landing Park, just down the road from the Law School. Many of their classmates and professors were surprised at the engagement, thinking these 1Ls had only known each other for a matter of months! But Justin and Claire’s story spanned several years and multiple continents. They are thrilled to share their futures with one another.

This summer, Claire and Justin will be returning to New York City for summer associate positions at large law firms. Though they’ll be in the big city, their firms are located only a block apart, allowing for lunch dates and shared commutes. With Justin’s family living about an hour outside of New York City, the pair plans to work in New York after graduating next year. In the future, they hope to return to Australia as well, to be close to Claire’s family. Wherever life takes them after William & Mary, Claire and Justin are excited to be making the journey together!

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

From Paul’s Deli to New York City: Meredith and Matthew’s Story

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

In February of each year, we like to highlight some of the couples that have found love while at William & Mary Law School (you can find past stories here and here). This year, we are happy to showcase the love story of Meredith Hunt, J.D. ’14, and Matthew DeAtley, J.D. ‘13.

M&M DatingDepending on who you ask, you could get pretty different stories on how newlyweds Meredith Hunt and Matthew DeAtley first started their relationship. Meredith will say that she met second-year student Matthew at Paul’s Deli near the beginning of her first year at William & Mary Law School. Matthew, however, does not remember that interaction at all. The two do agree that, after first meeting each other (however it happened), they would often run into each other at the gym due to both sharing an enthusiasm for athletics and fitness. Meredith will then say that their first date was when she asked Matthew to go to the local coffee shop Aroma’s after he had been trying to ask her out for a year and a half. Matthew will claim the two’s first date was when he asked her to go to the DoG Street Pub.

Regardless as to how they first met or where they went on their first official date, Meredith and Matthew were able to make their relationship work after they started dating in early 2013. Matthew graduated in May of 2013 just as Meredith was preparing to start a summer associate position at the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett law firm in New York City. Matthew joined Meredith in New York City and studied for the bar exam there, and by the end of the summer, both returned to Virginia. Matthew began an associate position at Williams Mullen in Virginia Beach while Meredith returned to Williamsburg for her third-year as a law student. Throughout the year, Meredith would visit Matthew at his place in Norfolk each weekend.

M&M ProposalThe biggest change occurred in October of 2014. In one week, Matthew proposed to Meredith, the two moved into a new place in New York together, and both began new jobs at law firms in New York City. Meredith started as a first-year associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett focusing on mergers and acquisitions, while Matthew started a new job at Paul Hastings as an associate in its real estate group. With both working at large law firms, needless to say, the two’s engagement period was very busy, with most free time being devoted to wedding planning.

On January 2, 2016, the wedding day finally arrived. Meredith and Matthew were married in Meredith’s hometown of Palm Beach, Florida, in a large and well-attended ceremony. About thirty of the wedding guests were Meredith and Matthew’s former William & Mary Law School classmates. Now, as newlyweds, both Meredith and Matthew are happy to spend time with each other as a married couple, although the change that resulted from marriage is nothing compared to the week during which the two got engaged, moved to New York, and started new jobs.

We at William & Mary Law School wish Meredith and Matthew a happy and healthy marriage, and we are proud to have played a small part in bringing the two together!

M&M Wedding

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

Co-Counsel Program: Law Alumni Serving as Guides for Current Students

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

No matter where you go to school and no matter what you want to do, there is likely someone who as already been there, already done that, and likely has learned a lot along the way. One of the benefits of coming along later is the ability to learn from the experiences of others, applying their knowledge to assist yourself in reaching your goals.

That is what the Co-Counsel program at William & Mary Law School attempts to do, by giving law students the opportunity to connect with alumni from around the country (and globe). These alumni willingly serve as resources for current law students to talk about school, job searching and life. These alumni often feel a connection to William & Mary and want to share their experiences with students.

As a 1L student, you will have to opportunity to sign up for this program during the first few weeks of school. You will also be given a list of alumni participants accompanied by their practice area of law, their geographic location, and a description of what they do, to better advice you on which lawyers may be a better fit for you. After that, you and your senior co-counsel will have an opportunity to connect and begin building a relationship.

There are few things that may be more valuable this early on than speaking with a lawyer who is currently practicing in that are, particularly as a student interested in a certain type of law and seeking more information about the practice area. Alumni will be able to give you insight on the pros and cons of the particular type of practice, maybe the geographic area where they practice, and even potential steps you can take to prepare yourself to be ready for a summer internship or externship in that field. They may also have advice for how to approach certain classes in school or different situations that you may encounter throughout your law school experience. All of this is useful information and can help better enable you to succeed in school and after.

No matter what your experience has been before law school and what you want to do in the future, you should absolutely sign up for this incredible (and unique) program here at W&M.

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

 

Hearing from an Alum in Criminal Law

newtonby Dakota Newton, Class of 2018

One of my favorite things about law school is listening to stories from the practicing attorneys and other speakers that professors and the school invite to campus. All of these people have good stories to tell, but I especially enjoy stories from the people who work in criminal justice. Nothing beats a good murder case, especially when the murderer was never caught.

On October 29, Professor Marcus invited Eddie Nickel, an Assistant Commonwealth Attorney from Richmond and 2007 graduate of the Law School, to talk with a group of 1Ls from his Criminal Law class. Eddie talked about his work as a prosecutor generally, the sort of cases he generally deals with, and how he manages to work through the seventy-plus cases that land on his desk each week (good judgment and long hours, if you are curious). He also discussed the full extent of his involvement as a prosecutor, which extends far beyond what I had ever thought.

Eddie’s job begins with talking to the police officers who are on patrol, so he can understand what challenges they are facing with previous offenders. On top of that, Eddia has a massive caseload, daily court appearances, data collection, recidivism analysis, and policy recommendation. So, if you are an excellent juggler and want to bear the responsibility of keeping the Virginia criminal justice system effective and equitable, then this may be the job for you.

Eddie Nickel

Eddie Nickel

After impressing us with his wide range of skills and prodigious work rate, Eddie settled into the stories, specifically a story of a suspected murderer in Richmond who has successfully evaded multiple convictions over the past quarter century but could be sentenced shortly if Eddie’s office is successful next month.

Overall, it was an excellent experience and a tantalizing glimpse of the careers that are just a few short years away.

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

See Eddie’s W&M Valentine’s post from 2011 here.

 

Interview with Amy Greer ’89, Public Service Fund Co-Founder

wentworthby Christie Wentworth, Class of 2017

Amy is a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Q: What sparked your interest in public service and pro bono work?

A: I have always been outwardly focused.  This may have been more an accident of birth than anything else, as I was an oldest child with responsibilities for my younger siblings, but for whatever reason, my biggest strengths have always been problem solving and personal interaction, which seem to be perfect qualities for this work.  I did not come from a family with lawyers in it, but I wanted to be a lawyer from a very early age, because they had the power to help others.  As far as I was concerned, public service and pro bono work were what lawyers did.

greer1Q: What inspired you to found the Public Service Fund?

A: Like so much of life, it was a happy accident.  Kathy Hessler ’88, a like-minded person, told me that other schools were doing programs like what became our Public Service Fund (PSF).  W&M had nothing available to support public interest work for students.  We identified a need and we filled it.  Together, and with the help of others, we considered what we thought we could accomplish, both in the short term and what PSF could be in the future and, acting with the support of the faculty and the administration, including Professors John Levy, Rob Kaplan, Jayne Barnard and then-Dean Sullivan, we got it off the ground.

Kathy Hessler ’88 and Amy Greer ’89, PSF Co-Founders

Kathy Hessler ’88 and Amy Greer ’89, PSF Co-Founders

Q: How did your time at W&M shape or encourage your commitment to public service?

A: Nothing succeeds like success, I guess.  The fact that PSF was so well received was very energizing for me — and the fact that the work being done was so inspiring to others and so meaningful to those being helped.

Q: What have you found to be the most meaningful way to stay involved in the community as a lawyer?

A: Legal work is very demanding of your time.  I have had periods of very significant community involvement and others when I have been less so, depending on my career demands.  However, I think the key is to commit to issues and organizations that you genuinely care about – that always makes it much easier to make the time.  And, though it may seem counterintuitive, given my last statement, I also try to find other ways to stay involved based solely on time commitment – like quick clinics, with real person-to-person interaction: helpful to clients, meaningful to me, and not a lot of time commitment.

Q: Do you have any advice for current law students or recent graduates who would like to continue to serve others?

A: Just do it.  And don’t feel bad about yourself when your life gets in the way.  Keep trying.

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

See the original post here.

How to Get the Dean to Shave His Mustache…

Last fall, Dean Douglas promised that if the Class of 2014 reached 75 percent participation in its Class Gift effort, he would shave his 30-years-in-the-making mustache.

On April 17, the participation rate hit more than 85 percent–and out came the razor…

Watch the video below!

To date, the Class of 2014 has 90% participation, due to the hard work of 20 member class gift committee. Read more about the 3L class gift here.

From the Law School Library to the Altar

It’s that time of year– Virginia is for lovers, and we love to share posts about couples who met during their tenure at William & Mary Law School.

by Lindsay Sfekas, Class of 2016

IMG_1829

Mary-Carson Saunders, Class of 2013, met her husband Josh Stiff during her first semester 1L year in the library during finals week, with intentions of getting some serious studying done. She speaks fondly of the moment she sat down next to Josh in the library, and he was watching a Youtube video of a parody of law school and giggling to himself.  He enticed her to take a break from studying and watch the rest of the video with him.

As luck, or fate, would have it, Mary-Carson and Josh lived right across the street from one another.  They became fast friends over pot luck dinners, trivia nights, and movie nights with their mutual friends.  During their spring semester, they began dating.  Williamsburg turned out to be a great place to date for these two outdoors loving people.  In fact, their first date was at Jamestown Beach, which is a local beach close to Williamsburg.  Other dates consisted of walking through Colonial Williamsburg, spending time in York River State Park, walking in the College Woods, canoeing on the Chickahominy River, and swimming in the river at Jamestown Beach.

At William & Mary Law School, the two became involved in the George Wythe Society and in the Inns of Court, a leadership networking organization.

During their 3L year, Mary-Carson and Josh returned to Jamestown Beach, the site of their first date, and Josh proposed.  The two were married in Suffolk, Virginia (Mary-Carson’s hometown) on October 5, 2013 with almost 20 of their classmates in attendance.

View More: http://httpkristinpartincom.pass.us/stiffwedding      View More: http://httpkristinpartincom.pass.us/stiffwedding

Mary-Carson and Josh live in Norfolk, Virgina where she works for the Law School and he a small bankruptcy firm.  When asked about whether she expected to meet her husband in law school, Mary-Carson says, “Absolutely not! I never dreamed in a million years!”

Learn more about our Student Bloggers here.

W&M Law Super Lawyers

Super LawyersThe Super Lawyers list has been published, and 631 William & Mary Law School alumni have made the list. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from all different practice areas. They are deemed Super Lawyers based on peer recognition and professional achievement.

Of particular note to the Admission Office are the Super Lawyers who also volunteer their time as Alumni Admission Ambassador. Our Alumni Ambassadors take time out of their busy lives, both professionally and personally, to speak to and to meet with prospective and admitted students. 73 W&M Super Lawyers are also Alumni Admission Ambassadors.

Congratulations to all of our William & Mary Super Lawyers!

Click here to see a full list of William & Mary Law School alumni who were named Super Lawyers.