Careers In House Profiles Dec '12
Originally drawn to law school in order to enhance his prior experience as a software engineer through working in technology and new media law, Chad Woodford is now Legal Counsel at Twitter, where he supports product groups within the company through drafting and negotiating contracts and counseling on legal strategy. "At Twitter, I love working with such an energetic, engaged, intelligent and passionate team on building a service that connects people everywhere to what's most interesting to them. No two days are the same and I'm constantly challenged, intellectually and creatively."
Q. Why did you go to law school? When I started law school at CU, I wanted to practice in an interesting, rewarding and evolving area of law, possibly using my prior experience as a software engineer in some capacity. Although I was fairly sure this was going to be technology and new media law, I did also consider environmental law. Originally, I saw myself working at a non-profit in one of those practice areas (e.g., the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Public Knowledge). But, as I progressed in my studies, completed my summer internships, and learned more about the experience of working at these organizations, I realized that private practice followed by work at a technology startup was where I would find the most fulfillment and joy.
Q. What about Colorado Law helped prepare you for the position? In law school, I learned to work efficiently and to manage an overwhelming amount of work, to think creatively in solving legal problems, and to find a life balance despite a heavy workload and competing priorities. These are invaluable lessons when working in the high-pressure, fast-paced life of a law firm associate or a technology startup attorney. Perhaps most importantly, I learned that I enjoy the work in my chosen practice area, something that is absolutely essential to a rewarding career.
Q. Tell us about your professional networking experiences? Because I moved away from the Colorado front range to the San Francisco bay area, the most useful networking strategy was to reach out to fellow CU Law alumni in San Francisco. In fact, this was what led to my position as an associate in the tech transactions group at Fenwick & West LLP, one of the larger technology law firms in Silicon Valley; and it was my tenure at Fenwick that laid the foundation for the rest of my legal career.
Q. If you could go back and do something different in law school, what would it be? I probably would have worked less my first year and enjoyed myself more. It took me a while to find a balance between work and play that would be sustainable for three years. At some point studying has diminishing returns and it's easy to burn yourself out. As the cliché goes, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
Q. What final piece of advice do you have for current and prospective law students? You probably hear this from a lot of lawyers, but make sure you're going into the profession for the right reasons and really take the time to research what the day-to-day practice of a lawyer in your chosen areas of interest is like. If you don't like the work no amount of money or prestige is going to sustain you.