What has your career path been like after Lewis & Clark College?
I started my career with the China-based Dacheng Law Offices. My path getting there was anything but straight. After my first year in law school I took advantage of a summer-study abroad program in Shanghai, China. This exposed me to the unique legal issues that arise when American firms do business in China and vice-versa. The convergence of two very different legal systems fascinated me and I made international law a priority from that time forward. During my third year at Lewis & Clark I had the opportunity to gain more exposure to international law by externing at DLA Piper in Melbourne, Australia. This was arranged through contacts that I had made during my summer in Shanghai and provided a completely different experience in international law, but one that was also very unique and challenging. After returning to the U.S. and finishing law school I moved to Los Angeles and pursued a career in international law. Former Dean Klonoff was kind enough to put me in touch with Dacheng, the U.S. office of which is headed by a Lewis and Clark alumnus.
After that Professor George Foster recommended me to a former colleague of his who was a partner at an international law firm in Los Angeles. I ended up joining his firm and working there for several years, including on a number of international insurance and maritime disputes.
I’m now an associate at another law firm in Los Angeles, Payne & Fears, where I continue to work on a broad range of complex commercial litigation matters, including some international disputes.
How did your Lewis & Clark Law School education prepare you for your career?
Lewis & Clark prepared me to approach any legal challenge consistently and methodically, which has allowed me to be an effective advocate. The entire faculty at Lewis & Clark was incredibly supportive, both during and after law school. I would single out two people who went out of their way to help me succeed. The first is Professor Foster, who not only served as my externship advisor (which involved flying all the way to Melbourne for a two day site visit) but also gave me invaluable guidance and contacts so that I could get my career started on the right track. The other is former Dean Klonoff who went above and beyond to help me find my first law firm position and has done so much for Lewis & Clark over the past years.
What was you foreign externship experience liked during your time at Lewis & Clark?
I was lucky enough to do an externship in Melbourne, Australia for the first semester of my final year in school. In case any students reading this are considering an international externship, I would strongly encourage you to go for it. Not only is it a great chance to see a different country, the contacts that you develop are a great asset when you begin your career. This is in addition to the chance to develop the skills needed by practicing lawyers, which many employers expect students to have when they graduate law school. The skills that I learned at DLA were invaluable and allowed me to hit the ground running at my first job after law school.