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Career Paths: 3L Tunde Cadmus on Researching and Writing at Pepper Hamilton

Tunde Cadmus is a 3L at Washington and Lee School of Law. He will join the law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP as an associate following graduation. At W&L, Tunde is editor in chief of the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. He is the recipient of the Fishwick Family Scholarship.

This past summer I worked as a Summer Associate at the Philadelphia office of Pepper Hamilton LLP. Not only was working at Pepper the best job I’ve ever had, living in Philadelphia for ten weeks has been my most memorable summer experience to date.

As a rising 2L, I knew that I wanted to work at a law firm during my second summer. My Civil Procedure, Torts and Contracts courses drew me toward commercial litigation, and I knew that I would gain the most exposure to that kind of work at a firm. I interviewed with Pepper through W&L’s regional interview program in Charlottesville, and I travelled to the firm’s headquarters in Philadelphia for my callback. Once I received an offer, I couldn’t wait to start working.

A typical workday at Pepper consisted of getting to my office around 8:30 A.M., grabbing breakfast at the firm’s amazing cafeteria, checking emails and voicemails, and working on my assignments. Assignments were posted online by associates and partners and typically involved researching narrow questions of law and providing an answer—either orally or in a memorandum—to the assigning attorney. I worked on a wide range of assignments, including (1) identifying and analyzing the legal issues surrounding different types of “collaborative sharing” companies, (2) researching judicial interpretations of amended portions of the False Claims Act, (3) researching available remedies for breach of a settlement agreement under Pennsylvania law and (4) summarizing a state’s products liability law in order to value a claim brought against a pharmaceutical company.

It wasn’t all work, though. The other Summer Associates and I enjoyed an array of firm-sponsored outings, such as attending a Phillies game, touring the Barnes Foundation, bowling and doing a scavenger hunt. The firm also hosted several professional development programs, my favorite of which being the mock deposition and mock negotiation exercises. I even had the opportunity to organize a firm-wide toy drive to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia—an endeavor that Pepper fully supported.

Before starting at Pepper, I was concerned that I would not be prepared for the kind of practical work performed at law firms because I had largely done nothing but read cases and take exams for two years in law school. I quickly learned, however, that the skills I employed the most at Pepper—research and writing—were skills that I had already developed and honed while at W&L. I was always researching something while at work, including case law, statutes, news articles and even scientific studies. Writing was also an integral part of my work, as most of my assignments called for a written work product. The techniques I learned from my 1L research and writing course served as foundations that I later built upon through research and writing assignments in other courses. Consequently, I was well prepared for the extensive legal research and analysis that I had to conduct while at Pepper.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent my summer at a firm where I could see myself working after graduation. The work was challenging yet intellectually stimulating. The attorneys and staff were brilliant and were genuinely interested in my success as a Summer Associate. I am happy to say that I will be working as an associate at Pepper Hamilton after graduation and, again, I can’t wait to start working!