Jessica Morgan (’12) works as an in-house attorney at Boulder Brands, a health and wellness company with a strong presence in the natural foods industry. A typical day for Morgan includes contract drafting and review, working on intellectual property matters, interacting with marketing department on promotions and approvals, and working on new deals and acquisitions.
How did Colorado Law help you in your job search?
As an alum, I had continued access to Colorado Law career resources after graduation, so I was able to find my job through CDOnline. I also reached out to Associate Professor Brad Bernthal and Dean Weiser throughout my search–they were extremely helpful.
How did Colorado Law prepare you for your new job?
Colorado Law provided me with exposure to a variety of different practice areas. The broad selection of courses and experiences in school has helped me in unexpected ways–I find myself using interesting things that I learned but I never thought would apply.
My time at Colorado Law also helped me to be flexible and to learn things on the fly. You do not receive a lot of hand-holding in law school so you have to be able to adapt and learn quickly. This has been a huge asset as I moved to an in-house job, where we tackle a wide variety of issues on a daily basis. It can be hard to predict what a day will look like.
What skills—legal or otherwise—do you utilize on a daily basis, and how do they make a positive difference in your work? How did you develop these skills?
The ones at the top of the list (and apply to both legal work and life in general), are (1) flexibility/adaptability, (2) organization, and (3) an eagerness to learn. Law school experiences–balancing classes, extra-curricular activities, and internships–are good training as it can often feel like you never have enough time to finish everything on your plate.
Please talk a little about “people skills” and networking specifically. How has your professional network made a difference in your career?
Networking makes a difference and it is not just about attending mixers. Having a broad intern experience enabled me to form relationships with people who would “vouch” for me on a professional level. These people have been key in helping me finding jobs since graduation and it has been wonderful to have them as a part of my life on a more personal level.
I find networking to be a kind of constant informal job search–it is great getting to know people who may think of you first when they hear of an opening.
Also, I have found that being a part of an organization that you can contribute to and get involved with was far more effective than simply showing up at random events hoping to meet people. For example, the CBA has a number of student liaison/board positions. While you volunteer your time, it is a great opportunity to meet other great lawyers in the community.
What advice would you give to current students with respect to finding a job?
I would reiterate that you should get involved outside of school. Allow people to get to know you–and follow up with people that you meet. It is amazing how powerful that is. I have had people approach me after panels and follow up and those are the ones who pop up to the forefront of my mind when I see job openings.
Most professionals will be receptive to meeting and speaking with you. Be brave and take the chance.
Just as importantly, be patient. Most people do not land their ideal job immediately; it is a process. Have your end goal in mind and do as much as you can to get there, but forgive yourself if you are not successful on the first try–it is not the end of the world. You stand to learn A TON no matter where you end up.