AABANY Student Outreach Committee Presents: Students Meet Firms— Kirkland & Ellis

On July 6, 2023, AABANY’s Student Outreach Committee hosted a Students Meet Firms event, connecting law students with attorneys at Kirkland & Ellis.  The Students Meet Firms series aims to connect rising second-year law students and other students pursuing law degrees with a range of diverse law firms, providing both insight into the legal profession and valuable networking opportunities. 

The event, held at Kirkland & Ellis’ New York office, was moderated by Catherine Tran, J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School ’25, and featured Partners Shaun Mathew and Kevin Lam, and Associates Keli Huang and Chrissy Pak. The panelists shared their personal experiences leading up to their current roles, what drew them to their particular practice areas, and insight into navigating on campus interviewing (OCI) in law school. 

The event kicked off with panelists giving an overview the following practice areas: investment funds, shareholder activism and hostile takeover defense, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate. The panelists agreed that the culture of Kirkland played a major role in fostering a collaborative environment. In particular, Keli highlighted how the partners of the firm welcomed associates to take on early responsibilities and were receptive to hearing her ideas. Chrissy also added that through her intensive research in law school, Kirkland stood out as one of the most diverse firms and its AAPI attorneys are represented at the highest leadership levels. Kevin underscored that Kirkland truly believes in meritocracy and has a willingness to put its resources into entrepreneurial ideas available to all its attorneys. As an example, Shaun recounted when he first joined the firm and noticed the lack of a South Asian affinity group and led the way in creating firm-wide events to bring South Asian attorneys at the firm together. 

The panelists then shared their advice for the OCI process and the importance of finding the right fit. Kevin kicked off the discussion by highlighting that as much as the law firms are interviewing candidates, the students are also interviewing the law firms. Chrissy agreed by giving sample questions one could ask the interviewer to really understand the firm’s value and use the interview as an opportunity to learn whether your goals align with the firm’s. While intensive research into Kirkland and its practice areas are vital, the panelists noted how outstanding candidates demonstrated the ability to ask tailored questions. Keli recommended treating networking opportunities as building both insight into the firm and connections with people you may work with in the future. Shaun also reiterated that you are never working alone, and you never know who might be of importance to your goals.

Another factor that Kevin believes separates candidates from the crowd is having passion and authenticity in what they are doing. As the panelists stated at the introduction of the discussion, the culture at Kirkland is built on its people. By showing your critical thinking skills and authentically portraying yourself in an interview, a compelling narrative could come through in a way that is unique to each candidate. Finally, the panelists shared their experience as attorneys at Kirkland and the type of questions they would ask interviewees. 

After the discussion, the panelists and participants connected over an array of hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

Thank you to the Student Outreach Committee and Kirkland & Ellis for organizing this informative program. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, click here. Click here to read about the prior Students Meet Firms event featuring Cleary.

AABANY SOC & In-House Counsel Committees Present- Pre-OCI Series: How to Get an In-House Job

On July 21, 2022, AABANY’s Student Outreach & In-House Counsel Committees hosted a virtual event to advise on the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process, specifically how to get an in-house counsel position. The event, part of the Student Outreach Committee’s Pre-OCI Series, ran from 5-6pm virtually on Zoom. The panel was moderated by Vivian Lee and Sharon Yang and featured the following panelists:

  • Michael J. Eng (MassMutual)
  • Kelly Koyama-Garcia (Louis Vuitton)
  • Madhu Goel Southworth (AMC)

Panelists discussed their individual career paths, the importance of knowing the business of the company before going in-house, how junior attorneys can best prepare themselves for an in-house role, and potential challenges for marginalized attorneys. The discussion was then followed by a Q&A session.

In advising junior attorneys how they can best prepare themselves for an in-house role, some panelists emphasized the importance of drafting experience and the ability to think and speak on the fly. While discussing the potential challenges marginalized attorneys may face, some panelists stated that things are getting better. Some panelists highlighted the importance of being above the radar by taking high visibility assignments and “knocking it out of the ballpark.”

As general career advice, some panelists advised junior attorneys to expect the unexpected, as many of the panelists never planned on working in-house themselves!

AABANY thanks the Student Outreach & In-House Counsel Committees for organizing the event, along with all panelists, moderators, and students who attended. To learn more about the Student Outreach Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/121. To learn more about the In-House Counsel Committee, please visit https://www.aabany.org/page/149 .