What are you up to these days?
I opened up my own practice! Downey Estate. In addition to estate planning, I also practice landlord/tenant law. Prior to that, I went through a rigorous application process – twice – once with the Coast Guard JAG and once with the Air Force JAG. The public service aspect, the money, and the ability to travel really appealed to me since I wasn’t tied down to anywhere. I don’t feel too bad about not being selected though. Only 2% of applicants actually get selected, so this is something I may try again.
How did you get your job?
I decided to start my own firm because after clerking for a number of small firms, I realized that I could do it. And actually, I really enjoyed the practical process of setting up a law firm. I was able to set up systems to streamline client management, payment portal, calendaring, and trust accounts. I’m hoping that one day I may be able to share this knowledge with my friends or new grads who are hoping to open their own firm.
Not only that, but I really like the flexibility of my schedule. I set my own schedule and find my own clients (right now mostly through referral services). And while my firm is starting to get going, I also bartend on the weekends.
I chose estate planning because of the pandemic. The demand was high (unfortunately because people were dying or getting ill) and all the estate planning attorneys were too busy to talk to me, so I took that as a good sign that the market was there.
What advice would you give to a graduating student who's looking for a job?
Honestly? It’s such an overused word but the best thing to do is network. Networking doesn’t always look like going to a fancy reception downtown and listening to experienced lawyers talk about their glory days as a law student, but rather networking with recent grads to talk about how hard it is to find a job and keeping your ear to the ground for opportunities.
May a student or alum contact you?
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to talk to law students.