With the help of Todd Rogers, assistant dean of the Career Development Office, Leann Lu made a contact during her 1L year with a Colorado Law alum in New York City. A week after graduation, that same alum, with whom Lu stayed in contact throughout law school, put in a good word for her regarding a job in New York City for which she was applying. She got the job and has been there ever since.
Tell us a little about your work. What do you do, and what might a “typical” work day look like?
After inevitably spilling some coffee on myself on the subway, I try to start off my morning with any sort of meeting, whether it be a team catch-up or a brief chat with my boss to get up to speed on our ongoing deals before I am anchored to my desk/phone. Working at an international company, I have calls throughout the day from colleagues and external counsel from all over the world working on matters related to corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and public reporting.
In relation to our strategic transactions, I am typically reviewing term sheets and agreements for several simultaneous deals while preparing the corresponding SEC filings, then getting on more calls to make sure all teams are on the same page. I spend a lot of time studying the company’s prior deals to make sure that what we are currently negotiating for is in line with past practice. My team is also responsible for drafting all the periodic filings for the company so I am always working with other departments (e.g., litigation, tax, finance, HR) to keep track of firm-wide updates and make the appropriate public disclosures.
On the corporate governance piece, my team is constantly thinking about what best practices should be implemented to protect the firm and its shareholders as a fiduciary. My typical day will also consist of creating agendas and presentations for the Board of Directors that simplify complex legal concepts in order to propose these changes.
Finally, as in-house counsel, my group acts as a resource for the rest of the firm and must respond to frequent ad hoc regulatory, compliance, or other requests from various departments that relate to the legal structure of the company.
Then I go home at 6 p.m. (#humbleinhousebrag).
How did you find your job?
Thanks to the help of Todd Rogers, assistant dean of the Career Development Office (“CDO”), I was put in touch during my 1L year with a Colorado Law alum who worked at BlackRock and was/is a very active advocate for the alumni program. After failing to meet my extremely aggressive personal goal of being hired by Thanksgiving and receiving coast-to-coast rejections, I saw my current position on BlackRock’s website the week after graduation. I happened to be in NYC for another interview and reached out to my contact, who I had stayed in touch with throughout law school. He knew of the position and my current group well, and was willing to put in a good word for me if I applied.
How did Colorado Law help you in your job search?
Aside from Dean Rogers providing his assistance from day one, the CDO took the time to recognize my primary interests in the public sector and provided a wealth of resources for applying to various federal government programs. I took advantage of attending the alumni receptions and job fairs (including some in San Francisco), which allowed me to personally meet many of the individuals actually reviewing my applications and provided a boost for OCI.
What skills do you utilize on a daily basis and how did your experiences or courses at Colorado Law help you develop these skills?
Taking a variety of business law courses at Colorado Law, including Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity and Venture Capitalism, and Deals, has allowed me to speak another language. Even if I am not working on a deal, my work with departments across the firm requires me to recognize terms, concepts and even certain synergies that I likely could not have placed without having taken these courses. Being part of a clinic has also helped to be more articulate when presenting my legal research to various groups.
Professor Erik Gerding taught and gave me the tools to always stay on top of the hottest topics in corporate law. Being in-house, and especially at a company that is perpetually growing with media presence, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being able to foresee and prepare for the next big event that the company may face. These have ranged from regulatory reform to shareholder activist issues that were discussed in-depth in my classes.
Please talk a little about “people skills” and networking specifically. How has your professional network made a difference in your career?
The most meaningful relationships that I have kept in my career and still continue to strengthen are my contacts from previous internships. Having a handful of the trustworthy relationships has made the once dreadful activity of networking infinitely easier; they have been instrumental in helping me routinely take a step back and realize how many interesting options and paths are available in the legal industry. Additionally, I still seek to do work for others throughout my firm in case I may want to move internally in the future. I am a strong believer that the knowledge of other options, even if you are happy where you are, is key to being comfortable and successful in your career.
What advice would you give to current students with respect to finding a job?
After you have gained some experience during your 1L summer, never go to coffee without having done your homework. That is, regardless of whether you are actively seeking a job, find an open position that you are interested in and raise it at coffee; it gives your contact something to do (and remember you by) by thinking of more connections after you are done meeting, and gives a more solid idea of your interests. Never go in empty-handed.
If you were to recommend Colorado Law to a potential law student, what would you say?
My experience at Colorado Law was unparalleled; I met the most adventurous, ambitious students while attending, and there is so much to say about the class of ‘14 in particular. The beauty of the Rockies aside, every person I met at Colorado Law had either lived in at least three different places or traveled tremendously and had incredible stories to go along with these experiences. It added an element of diversity that I would say is lacking in most other law schools: my classmates were both interested and interesting. If you are going to spend the majority of three years in the library, it helps to spend it with others that have the same desire for work-life balance.
Why did you choose Colorado Law?
Because they would not admit me until (literally) the day of orientation, which made me want it more.
It was a great ranking school with a great financial package, and I was focused in an area of law (securities regulation) that I knew did not have a large presence in Colorado but that I could potentially leverage to make me stand out. While unsure whether that worked out, I nonetheless knew that there were extremely accomplished and devoted professors, and there were more than enough resources to make the best of my experience.