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Alex Kat: From Restaurant Management to Law

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Alex Kat is the winner of the LinkedIn “Forage Voyage” Contest

“Law has been exactly what I was looking for”

Alex started his career pursuing Kinesiology at San Diego State University while simultaneously working full time at Panera Bread. For five years post-undergraduate, he worked his way up to becoming the General Manager at Panera. Working at Panera made Alex feel like he was on autopilot, making him realize that he wanted a career that intellectually challenged him. 

“Well, what am I going to do? I have nothing to do.”

Inspired by his wife, Alex made a complete career change and the decision to go back to school to pursue law, something he was more passionate about. Then, the pandemic hit. “[The pandemic] had pushed back my internship, it was about a month between when I should have started and when I did start. So in that month I thought ‘well, what am I going to do? I have nothing to do.’” Thus, he wanted to fill the gap between school and his internship with something fulfilling and productive. 

Finding a fulfilling way to spend his time

He decided to focus his new found time and energy on the Forage’s Latham & Watkins virtual experience programs on Mergers & Acquisitions and White Collar Defense & Investigations. Alex valued the flexibility Forage provided when comparing it to an in-person internship, “I love the fact that you can just do it at your own pace.”

He said the virtual experiences were helpful for “exposing him to different areas of the law,” For instance, Alex really enjoyed the Mergers & Acquisitions experience which sparked more of an interest in the area. On the other hand, through the White Collar Defense program, he was able to explore an area of law that he previously knew nothing about. This experience allowed him a greater understanding of what other lawyers are experiencing in their respective practice areas.

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“Having that practical experience, you don’t really get that in law school classes so that is what I enjoyed the most about Forage”

When it came to applying for jobs, having this virtual work experience on his resume helped him as “it was a big talking point” in interviews. As his experience was with a prestigious law firm, it showed employers that he had a practical and impressive law practice. 

For Alex, it was an opportunity to gain experience he was not getting elsewhere, “being able to add something else law related makes your resume look that much better when you have these experiences especially in your first year where you have not had the opportunity to get any experience.”

“If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, find something else”

Alex’s advises everyone to go after a career they are passionate about.  He notes, “You have the time, it just comes down to organizing and wanting to improve.” One of the ways to improve is through Forage, as it is free and on your own time, Alex mentions it is a low-risk platform to explore your interests. “That’s what I love about Forage, it gives you access to a whole bunch of different career opportunities that you may not even know about.”

Another piece of advice he offered was to network with people to ensure you are on the right path. Connecting with people through Linkedin and getting an idea of what they like and dislike about their current job is an insightful way of determining a career path that works for you. Alex’s advice is essentially to find and chase the career you are passionate about. 

Congratulations to Alex on accepting a returning summer internship offer with Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton, an employment defense firm in San Diego!

Connect with Alex on Linkedin here.

Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.