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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 professional development. However, when he accepted a position at Howard University Law School, he realized a career in the law could be so much more.

Howard’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. In the way that all university and coming of age experiences should be – Nana felt he grew and matured 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.” 

This is why Nana is so supportive of the open access education opportunities on Forage. In completing the White & Case virtual experience program he explains that: 

  • He gained practical corporate experience that he hadn’t learnt as a paralegal or at law school;
  • He gained insight into practice areas of interest; and 
  • The program debunked the myth that he needed a science or technology background to pursue a role in intellectual property.

“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.” 

He advocates for Forage programs as a no-brainer 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? 

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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 to 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.”

Forage is delighted to share that through his participation in our program, 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. He is a rockstar – and the teams at Forage & White & Case are so excited to watch him change the world. 

Nana is J.D. Candidate at Howard University School of Law

Connect with Nana on LinkedIn here.

Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.

By Annabel Gurney, Early Talent Partner – 2021-09-08

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