Finding a job requires a lot more than just good grades
Prior to attending law school at the University of Chicago, Julian attended the University of Maryland – a large public school where he studied government and politics. With government and politics being a pretty general subject, when considering future career paths, Julian felt that law best suited his skill set. He liked philosophy and was a logical thinker.
During his undergraduate studies, Julian discovered the importance of gaining experience and building a personal network: “I thought that I could get good grades and it would be fine, but when it comes to finding a job, I realized there is so much more to it”. Julian reflects this was such a valuable lesson to learn, and when starting his JD, he explains that “everything I did in law school was geared towards getting a job at a top firm”.
Without existing personal connections, Julian had to work hard to build a network.
Julian didn’t know any lawyers and lacked a personal network to provide insight into the industry. He set to work researching each top firm, analyzing the work they did, their performance, and their culture. With an interest in technology, start-ups, and Silicon Valley, Julian discovered Latham & Watkins had a fantastic offering in this space.
He leveraged the community at his university including careers services, his peers, and alumni to figure out what he needed to do to land a job with Latham. He was committed to attending recruitment events and started to reach out to practicing lawyers to learn more and hone his skills.
Conflicting advice can make knowing what to do challenging
While Julian found his networking efforts to be incredibly helpful, a challenge he faced was the conflicting advice offered by different people. In his words, “this probably goes for any profession, but when you talk to people, everyone gives you a different answer about what law firms are looking for. People assume what works for them works for everyone. Trying to decipher that information, and trying to figure out what is actually the case vs. what is an anecdote is difficult”.
He realized that to put his best foot forward in his applications, he had to do everything in his power to be prepared. While perfect grades might not be realistic, Julian knew there were multiple other opportunities to showcase his skill set, interest, and passion for the law.
Forage provided another opportunity to gain practical experience and prepare for his application
The Latham & Watkins Emerging Companies program caught Julian’s attention as a way to learn additional practical skills to prepare for his application, especially considering that law school is often quite theoretical. “I thought it was cool they had actual attorneys in the videos. It was clear that the opportunity was there to just learn things… law school doesn’t teach you how to be a practicing lawyer, so getting to learn about what actual attorneys do is great”.
Julian felt fortunate to have had in-person internships throughout his degree, however, reflects that Latham’s virtual experience programs are a really important resource for students without experience. “It’s great in showing you what the work is, learning the lingo and the terms that are used – all the things that are so important when heading into a job interview. You know what the practice areas are, and you have some idea about what the person in the interview is asking you and talking about.”
Finally, the program further confirmed Julian’s interest in Latham. He recognized the firm put in a lot of effort into the experience and felt they were genuinely interested in helping students out.
A parting piece of advice to future students…
Julian recommends Forage programs to future students because “it gives you exposure – and that is so important.”
He advocates students do everything they can to learn more about their area of interest – this involves a combination of doing programs like those on Forage, connecting with people in the industry, being involved at university, and learning as much as possible to prepare.
A huge congratulations to Julian for being accepted as an incoming Summer Associate at Latham in 2021!
Connect with Julian on LinkedIn here.
Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.
By Annabel Gurney