Career Paths: John Fluharty ’18L
John Fluharty ‘18L is a native of West Virginia. Prior to studying law at Washington and Lee, he worked for an NGO as an international development contractor, as a debate strategist in Governor Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and as an analyst for a political think tank in Afghanistan. John spent his 1L summer in a Bicameral Clerkship in the United States Senate and House, and his 2L summer working for Allen & Overy in London. John holds an M.Phil in Politics from the University of Oxford, an MA in Philosophy from University College London, and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews, in Scotland.
Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?
I will be working as an associate in Allen & Overy’s International Capital Markets practice group in London. The firm’s London office has a group of US attorneys working on international securities transactions that involve a relationship to parties in the US.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a law firm?
When I began law school I had hoped to find a position in a law firm, but it was important to me to find a firm with the right work/life culture. It was also important to me to find the right environment to get the best legal training possible.
What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?
The size and location of the firm were very important to my decision. I knew that I wanted to work in a firm with a strong international presence. When I entered law school, I had the goal of finding a position in a UK or European office, so the location of Allen & Overy’s London office was perfect for me. Additionally, the institutional knowledge available due to Allen & Overy’s global presence is invaluable.
Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?
Yes, the firm’s culture is fantastic. When I interviewed with Allen & Overy the partners explained that the U.S. practice in London was like “a small firm within a large one,” which I found to be the case when I worked as a summer associate. The practice group acted as a close-knit group of lawyers but was supported by the knowledge and infrastructure of a larger international firm. In that respect it was both easy to form close relationships with others in the firm, while also taking advantage of the benefits of being in such a large and diverse firm.
What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a your law firm job?
Securities Regulations and Close Business Associations are both very helpful. I did not take Publicly Held Businesses, but I believe that would be helpful as well. I found Accounting and Finance for Lawyers to be the most helpful, as a lot of the work for capital markets practices requires conducting due diligence of the securities issuers, which involves the review of the issuer’s accounts.
Can you describe your job search process?
You have to be relentless. I sent applications to firms that I thought would fit my search criteria and followed them all up with phone calls. I took every opportunity I could to network and reach out to W&L alumni. I took advantage of many good opportunities provided by the Office of Career Strategy. I started planning how to get the job I wanted as soon as I started my 1L year, which included doing things like asking professors to review and critique my resume to make it more geared towards the legal profession. In the end, all the networking is what led to my summer associate job offer with Allen & Overy.
What are you most looking forward to about working abroad?
London is an exceptionally multicultural and diverse city, with many opportunities. I lived in London for several years, so I am excited move back to the city and take advantage of everything it has to offer. Also, being close enough to the European continent to make a quick weekend trip every once in a while will provide a nice break to a new associate’s work schedule.