Anna Minkinow came to Colorado Law seeking a place where she could rise above past fears and stigmatization. She discovered that she had what it takes to succeed, and then some. While a law student, she decided to take a chance and pursue what she had always wanted to do: corporate and securities law. In her current job as a corporate and securities lawyer for Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Minkinow engages in federal securities work and mergers and acquisition deals involving a few hundred thousand to over a billion dollars.
Tell us a little about your work. What do you do, and what might a "typical" work day look like?
I am a corporate and securities lawyer working at a national firm. About 65 percent of my day is often spent on federal securities work—offerings of debt and equity securities from about $20M-500M, proxy statements, ongoing disclosure requirements, etc.—and the other 35 percent is spent on mergers and acquisitions deals ranging from a few hundred thousand to over a billion dollars and corporate governance work. The typical day is a mashup of each of those things, answering questions from opposing counsel and co-counsel, and managing clients.
How did you find your job?
This particular job was unique for me, as it was essentially the result of a lot of googling. I am originally from Alabama, and my family there needed my help, so when my wife and I prepared for the transition from Denver to Alabama, I attempted to find anything within driving distance. In Colorado, the vast majority of my jobs came from participating in the Colorado Pledge to Diversity Program and being pretty shameless about asking people I met in such jobs to help me with other opportunities I might be interested in. When it was time for me to transition back to Alabama, those same people gave me stellar recommendations and made sure I got a job offer the same day I interviewed (which came from the head of my current corporate group as my plane back to Denver was lifting off, and my head was hidden under the seat in front of me).
How did Colorado Law help you in your job search?
As mentioned, this job is unique and was attained more independently. While in Colorado, the Colorado Pledge to Diversity Program, in which Colorado Law participates, was absolutely critical to most of the jobs I had in law school, as well as my time spent as an attorney at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP. The program helped me tremendously with my interviewing and application skills and ended up placing me where I would be for the duration of my time in Colorado. Davis Graham gave me a phenomenal network of attorneys who genuinely wanted to see me succeed and helped with my transition.
What skills do you utilize on a daily basis and how did your experiences or courses at Colorado Law help you develop these skills?
It can be a little tough starting out as a corporate and securities lawyer, as most law school courses are tailored to litigators. The classes that were most helpful were definitely those I had with Professors Erik Gerding and Andrew Schwartz. They both have a way of making even inestimably complex corporate law topics seem accessible. More importantly, they are both such incredible assets to students and add the requisite level of pizazz to topics that, let’s face it, aren’t generally the topic of legal thrillers for a reason. What they imparted to me, particularly the ways in which Professor Gerding all but forced me to believe in my abilities, served me tremendously and continue to do so.
Please talk a little about "people skills" and relationship building. How have your professional acquaintances (and friends) made a difference in your career?
The important thing to remember about the Colorado legal community is that it’s attractive because it’s full of fantastic lawyers who are also pretty regular people otherwise—people who have outside interests, people who like happy hour and local beer, etc. Your people skills have to align with that understanding. The Colorado legal market demands it, and it demands that you be community-oriented. For me, it was also a matter of incredible luck in meeting two extremely phenomenal people who would help me and give me the confidence to help myself. At my 1L BBQ, I met my classmate Cayla Crisp ('15), who is one of the most phenomenal, inspiring, uncompromising women I have ever known, and she kept me motivated through law school and continues to do so. My first day at Davis Graham as a 1L (I clearly love first day narratives), I met a partner in the corporate group, Laura Gill, who would become one of the greatest mentors I have ever had and with whom I would work for years. In both situations, I think it was a matter of being honest, of shedding pretense. Of realizing the resources I had. Of showing up and raising my hand when it was time to be counted. Of letting them really know who I was and from listening to who they were. The relationships that will carry you are the ones in which you are actually known, and those that are something less will fall flat. Pretense doesn’t have much carrying power in Colorado.
What advice would you give to current students with respect to finding a job?
Don’t stand in your own way, which seems equally parts vague and obvious. I almost got in my own way in law school because I thought my background somehow disqualified me from the jobs I wanted. I had a big chip on my shoulder about the fact that I had been a bartender in New Orleans before law school and homeless, living out of trash bags, before that. I thought this somehow disqualified me from doing what I wanted to do, but it didn’t. That fear almost prevented me from taking chances on what I wanted to be doing. The same can also be true in reverse—while you should never assume that you are disqualified for any reason, you should also never assume that your background innately qualifies you. Go for what you want. Talk to the Career Development Office and your other mentors about what classes you should be taking that make you more marketable (for me, in Denver, that was increasing my familiarity with energy law). Get on that journal. Keep your head down, and don’t worry about what your classmates are or are not doing. Tap into your resources, ask yourself what you want, and draw the line to that endpoint. If something seems off, call me.
If you were to recommend Colorado Law to a potential law student, what would you say?
This law school actually lives up to what you read on the brochures—your classmates, your faculty, and your administrators are there for you; people want you to succeed; to the extent you are interested in a The Paper Chase experience, you can have it (but have to be more deliberate); you will find a home here, and you will love it. Full disclosure: unfortunately, the Socratic method will still confront you on a regular basis.
Why did you choose Colorado Law?
Being from Alabama, I had lived in the Deep South my entire life in one place or another. I saw a glass ceiling for women generally, and I saw the violence associated with being an openly gay woman. More than see it, I had lived it, and I had exclusively lived it. I wanted to go to a place with stellar academics, a gorgeous backdrop, and a place that wouldn’t subject me to the same fears I felt as a woman and gay woman where I had grown up—a place I could feel like I really could become a corporate securities attorney as an openly gay woman, and a place that wouldn’t stigmatize me. That the Deep South also hadn’t yet discovered craft beer when I left was yet another point of reckoning for me. Colorado Law ended up being all of that for me and so much more.