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Nana Kessie: Getting a Seat at the Table

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When Nana Kessie first decided he wanted to be a lawyer, he thought it sounded like a cool career with great opportunities for personal and professional development. However, when he enrolled at Howard University Law School, he realized a career in law could be so much more.

A Career That Gives Back

Howard University’s strong emphasis on community left a lasting impression on Nana. He learned from amazing and inspirational professors and fellow students — and felt his experience fundamentally changed his perception about his career goals and pathway and helped him grow and mature into the person he wanted to be. 

Nana is now motivated by what he can give back to society. He wants to be remembered not for his achievements, but for the positive impact he has on his community. Particularly as a Black man pursuing a career in the law, Nana reflects: 

“It takes you one day to realize that it’s not about you anymore. It’s about everybody else that looks like you, it’s bigger than you.” 

Virtual Job Simulations Provide Access

This is why Nana is so supportive of the open access opportunities on Forage. “I didn’t have any corporate experience… so it took me from a point of not having any experience or not even knowing the basic terminology, to feeling a bit more comfortable as I actually had participated, and I had done work that they would have done for their clients.”

By completing a White & Case virtual job simulation he: 

  • Gained practical corporate experience that he hadn’t learned as a paralegal or at law school
  • Explored and identified practice areas of interest 
  • Discovered he didn’t need a science or technology background to pursue a role in intellectual property

>>MORE: Guide to Working at White & Case

Working at White & Case

White & Case U.S. Intellectual Property

Explore what it's like to work with White & Case's global intellectual property group in this free job simulation.

Avg. Time: 9 hours

Skills you’ll build: IP litigation, fact analysis, drafting client communications, litigation strategy, legal analysis

Claiming a Seat, Getting a Say

Most importantly, when reflecting upon underserved communities, Nana also recognizes that taking advantage of these opportunities is a chance to have a seat at the table and make an impression.

“You can’t have a say at the table if you don’t have a seat at the table. So these programs and these opportunities for people who look like me, act like me, and think like me are an opportunity to have a seat at the table so we can have a better future for the people behind us.”

Through his participation in the Forage job simulation, Nana was invited to attend a focus group with the White & Case recruitment team. He left a lasting impression and was accepted as a Summer Associate in 2020 and is currently working as an Associate in White & Case’s New York office. “After my summer program I was fortunately afforded the position to come back full time as an associate after graduating law school,” he explains.

Nana notes that his job simulation was one of the main talking points during the interview process — and that the lawyers who interviewed him were “extremely intrigued” about his experience with Forage’s White & Case job simulation.

“Forage gave me the exposure and the reputation as someone that was curious. Through Forage I was able to connect with the firm in a unique way as if I was already part of the firm; some people knew me before I even started. Some lawyers at the firm read my story and found themselves in me and my story and were interested in my career in a way that was personal to them.”

White & Case U.S. Trade Law

Learn about a day in the life working as a junior associate on White & Case's international trade and customs team.

Avg. Time: 10-15 hours

Skills you’ll build: Legal research, legal analysis, email drafting, written legal advocacy

Nana’s Advice for Future Students

Nana emphasizes that Forage job simulations can help students find out what a job really entails and truly experience a day in the life of an employee.

“It is important to know what the actual job would be and not what is on paper or what someone else has told you. The Forage platform provides free and easy access to a world which was once reserved for only a few. Forage brings the job to you and allows any potential candidate a unique experience of having a dry run as an employee.

“Through Forage, every candidate not only gets the chance to know what the work is like, but also gets the chance to see if it’s a good career or lifestyle fit.”

Nana advocates for Forage job simulations as an excellent opportunity for students to explore and discover what they like and dislike, to learn and contribute to their professional development, and to better prepare themselves for interviews with employers. In his eyes, why wouldn’t you take advantage of free content that will actively help you in your career? 

White & Case U.S. Debt Finance

Learn the key skills you'll need to negotiate and manage the transaction documentation process as a junior associate.

Avg. Time: 2-3 hours

Skills you’ll build: Legal writing, attention to detail., critical thinking, logical analysis

Connect with Nana on LinkedIn.

By Annabel Gurney

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