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Career Paths: Caroline Colpoys ’16L

Caroline Colpoys ’16L is from Dallas, TX and attended Rhodes College for her undergraduate degree. At W&L, she is the executive editor of the Journal of Energy, Climate and the Environment and a member of the Powell Lecture Board.

Caroline Colpoys '16LCaroline Colpoys ’16L

Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?

I will be working for Vinson & Elkins in Washington, D.C. after graduation. I have not been assigned a practice group yet.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?  

Coming into law school I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work for a big firm. I gave the OCI (On Campus Interview) process a try, and I had a positive experience. I enjoyed my time at V&E immensely and I’m thrilled to be working in their D.C. office after graduation. The office has about 80 attorneys, and although it still has the BigLaw atmosphere, I have been able to get to know the other attorneys and staff.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this choice?  

I think a big part of finding the right job is finding people you like working with. As much as I enjoyed the projects I completed during my summer with V&E, I am especially grateful to have found a firm with coworkers who I respect, relate to, and can have fun with.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job?  

I think the most helpful classes have been my legal writing classes. I also recommend participating in a journal and becoming a research assistant for a professor–the extra writing experience is invaluable. Most of my college classes had a significant writing component, but I also took a year off after graduating and had a job that didn’t involve much substantive writing. Since starting law school, I’ve found that I have to write and edit constantly in order to stay sharp. Communication skills are extremely important and are a major part of how firms evaluate summer associates.

Can you describe your job search process?  

I started looking into firms in June of my 1L Summer. I applied to some firms that were not coming to W&L for OCI or were not participating in the regional interview programs. I focused on firms in locations that I had a connection to and applied to those offices that had a practice group I had an interest in.  When W&L released the names of the firms that would be interviewing, I reached out to all the contacts I knew to express interest and get information. I can’t overstate the importance of using whatever contacts you have–there are so many applicants for these positions that it’s important to distinguish yourself however you can. I interviewed with Vinson & Elkins at the Washington, D.C. regional interview program and completed a callback for their D.C. office.