The Columns

Career Paths: Chi Ewusi ’17L 3L Chi Ewusi spent the summer working for the Pillsbury law firm in their Washington, D.C. office.

— by on December 20th, 2016

Chi Ewusi is a graduate of the University of Phoenix from Moorestown, NJ. At W&L Law, she serves as a Law Ambassador and as the executive editor of the German Law Journal. This summer, she worked for the Pillsbury law firm in their Washington, D.C. office.

Chi Ewusi '17LChi Ewusi ’17L

How did you find/get this position?

I attended a Black Law Students Association (BLSA) job fair. BLSA-affiliated students get to attend members-only job fairs that take place across the country. I interviewed with Pillsbury at one in Washington, D.C. I received a callback and then accepted an offer for summer employment early on in my 2L year.

Describe your work experience.

My work experience was varied and fast-paced. Summer associates initially received assignments from a database but, as the summer continued, we began to solicit work more organically. This more “free market” approach taught us to develop relationships, pursue our individual interests, and practice time management. Most of my assignments came from the following sections: Global sourcing (think technology transactions and licensing agreements), corporate and securities, and nuclear energy. Pillsbury’s D.C. office performs litigation, transactional, and regulatory work, so I received a healthy dose of all three. Beyond assignments, our program was packed with summer associate events—think fancy meals and shows throughout the city.

What were some skills you developed this summer?

I learned time management and people management skills. I really learned to balance expectations, find allies and mentors in the workplace, and practice making the lives of the associates and partners around me as easy as possible.

What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?

My journal experience helped prepare me for summer work—both the practice of being detail-oriented and the handling of large volumes of documents without feeling overwhelmed. Class-wise, international business transactions, securities regulation, and American Public Law Process (APLP) were especially helpful.

What surprised you about the work you did this summer?

The variety and scope of my assignments was surprising. My 1L summer, I mostly just wrote legal memos and did some minor document review. At Pillsbury, I worked on business development matters, prepared regulatory filings, participated in deal closings, drafted sections of contracts, and even went to Capitol Hill to meet with representatives about a new construction project.

What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?

The first week of my program, the White House announced sanctions against Vietnam were being lifted (in conjunction with President Obama visiting the country). The international trade group at Pillsbury contacted me to write a blog about the legal ramifications of the lift. The firm published my work and even put my name in the byline.

Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?

My summer at Pillsbury helped me figure out what type of legal work I like and prepared me for the pace of a large law firm. I was able to use my experience and contacts at Pillsbury, as well as my experience with a “free market”/open assignment environment, to secure a position at Kirkland & Ellis in Houston, TX, which is where I’ll be after graduation.

How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?

Working at Pillsbury has taught me to think beyond legal theory and hypotheticals. I am increasingly focused on being client-oriented and practical. It has tied in nicely with the third-year experience here at W&L Law.

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