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Career Paths: Danielle Novelly ’19L

Danielle Novelly ‘19L is from Scottsdale, Arizona and received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arizona. Prior to studying law at Washington and Lee, she worked for a law firm in Washington, D.C. Danielle spent her 1L summer as a judicial intern in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and her 2L summer working for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in New York City. As a 3L, she worked as a judicial extern in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Danielle served as a Lead Articles Editor for the Washington and Lee Law Review, a Negotiations Chair for the Moot Court Executive Board, a Burks Writing Scholar, and Co-President of the Women Law Students Organization.

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

After graduation I will be a Litigation Associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in New York City. I will have the opportunity to work in various litigation practice areas before specializing.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work in this field?

When I began law school I did not know what field of law I wanted to work in, and I was open to learning about all types of legal practice. After my 1L summer in U.S. District Court, I began to lean towards litigation, but was still not entirely certain.

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

I knew I wanted to work in a large city in the Northeast, so I focused my job search in Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston. I applied to midsize and big law firms primarily because I was uncertain what type of law I wanted to practice. I thought a larger firm could provide exposure to a variety of practice areas, which would allow me to make an informed decision.

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

Throughout my summer at Morgan Lewis, I worked on assignments in various practice groups, including Labor & Employment, Mergers & Acquisitions, Commercial Litigation, Finance, Real Estate, and Securities Litigation. I was so grateful for the opportunity to work on a wide array of projects because it gave me insight into areas of law I knew nothing about. In particular, I had not previously been exposed to any type of transactional work. Although I ultimately chose to pursue litigation, I would not have been as certain without this exposure.

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

I think the most helpful courses to prepare for this job are those that have a writing or oral advocacy component. For example, in addition to my 1L writing courses, I took a writing seminar with Professor Fraley, Trial Advocacy with Professor Newell, Appellate Advocacy with Chief Justice Lemons and participated in the Judicial Externship program. These courses allowed me to develop my written and oral communication skills in varied legal settings.

As a summer associate, I conducted research, wrote memos, and helped prepare questions for a deposition. Even if I was unfamiliar with a particular area of law, I felt confident that I possessed the writing and research skills necessary to complete the assignments.

Can you describe your job search process?

I applied to all of the employers at the regional interview programs in New York, D.C., and Boston. Additionally, I applied directly to many law firms that did not attend our interview programs. I was lucky to receive interviews through both methods, but I interviewed with Morgan Lewis in the New York regional interview program. After my initial interview, the process moved quickly, and I received an offer within the week.

I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to the Officer of Career Strategy. Dean Jarrett and Andrea Hilton were unbelievably helpful through the overwhelming and unfamiliar application process. I had no connections in these legal markets, but they provided resources and support that allowed me to feel comfortable throughout the process.

What are you most looking forward to about working at this job?

As a summer associate, I began to form some wonderful professional relationships and immersed myself in the culture of the firm. Every attorney I met was so helpful and eager to mentor summer associates. Additionally, I had the opportunity to work on some very intellectually stimulating and complex legal issues. I look forward to challenging myself and growing as a young lawyer under the guidance of such talented and supportive attorneys.