Career Paths: Austin Lomax ’15L
Austin Lomax ’15L is a 3L from Tryon, North Carolina. He served as a Lead Articles Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review and as a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic. For his 1L summer, Austin was a summer associate at Talcott Franklin P.C. and at Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLP. He spent his 2L Summer at Alston & Bird LLP and Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLP. Upon graduation, he will join Alston & Bird in Atlanta.
Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area, if you know?
I will be at Alston & Bird, LLP in Atlanta, GA starting this fall. I accepted an offer in their Litigation and Trial Practice group.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?
Yes, I did. I worked at a large law firm for a summer before coming to W&L and was drawn to the atmosphere.
Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed that choice?
Working as a summer associate at A&B made me confident in my decision to accept their offer. I decided that it was the right place for me because of all the different people I met that summer, rather than just the legal work. If I hadn’t meshed well with the partners and associates who worked there, I would have explored different options.
What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job, and when would you recommend taking them?
Law school is geared toward litigation. Most of the classes 1L and 2L year are centered around case law, research, and writing, yet a majority of BigLaw jobs have nothing to do with litigation. While I ended up pursuing litigation, many of my summer classmates took offers in corporate/transactional fields, and they will probably never access Westlaw again after graduation. So, in your 2L year, I would recommend trying to take transactionally-based classes like Publicly Held Businesses, Securities, and Federal Income Tax. For 3L year, I would recommend tailoring your schedule based on what you are trying to do after graduation. For example, if you know you want to do Corporate transactions, take the M&A practicum instead of Complex Litigation. We are lucky that W&L lets you specialize a little more in your 3L compared to other law schools.
Can you describe your job search process?
I narrowed it down by geography. I knew I wanted to be in the South, so I had three callback interviews in Charlotte and one in Atlanta through OCIs. Through these interviews, I realized that A&B was the best match for me, mainly based on the personalities of the different people I met. If you know you want to be in a big law firm, I would recommend trying to find a firm based on where you want to live geographically and firm culture. Most large law firms have practice groups that cover virtually everything, and the practice group you end up in usually depends more on who you get along with the best than your preconceived notions about that area of law. No matter how much you may like a particular type of law a particular firm practices, you won’t be happy unless you also like the people. I can’t emphasize this enough.
As far as the search process, I consider myself exceedingly lucky to get a job solely through OCIs. There are just way too many law students across the country competing for such a small number of jobs to count on making it through the OCI process. If I were to do the process over again, I would have made sure to spend my 1L summer in Atlanta (or wherever I decided I wanted to be geographically) so that I could network with alumni. Your chances at getting a BigLaw job greatly improve if you can somehow manage to get an interview in July before your 2L year, because the law firms have not yet started their countrywide tour for on campus interviews. The best way to do this is to have an alum give their recruiting team your resume and vouch for you.