Career Paths: Kimberly Shi ’21L Kimberly Shi will be working for Clifford Chance LLP in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, focusing on litigation and dispute resolution.
Kimberly Shi ‘21L is from Bellaire, Texas. She received a B.A. in International Affairs and Economics from The George Washington University. Prior to studying law at Washington and Lee, she worked for a law firm in Chicago. Kimberly spent her 1L summer working as an intern in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and her 2L summer working for Clifford Chance LLP in Washington, D.C. As a 3L, she worked in the admissions office and served as the Editor in Chief for the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice.
Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?
I will be working for Clifford Chance LLP in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. I accepted an offer to return to the Litigation and Dispute Resolution group after graduation.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work in this field?
I had a pretty good idea of what I was interested in coming into law school. I was fortunate enough to intern at the Department of Justice during my undergraduate career, and after undergrad, I worked for a large law firm in Chicago as a project assistant/paralegal. During those two years as a project assistant/paralegal, I worked primarily in intellectual property litigation and was fortunate enough to experience the entire discovery process, from filing to trial and appeal. I thoroughly enjoyed each step of the process and knew that I wanted to continue in litigation after graduation.
What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?
I knew I wanted to work for a large firm after graduation but had a harder time pinning down the location. Consequently, I focused more on the firm’s culture and practice areas to help me narrow the scope of my search.
Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?
I was able to work on several projects within the L&DR practice group at CC this past summer—government investigations, export and imports, as well as a number of pro bono opportunities to name a few. I enjoyed all of the projects and the different challenges each posed. By the end of the summer, I left feeling tremendously excited and grateful for the opportunity to return.
What classes do you think are helpful to prepare for this job?
Legal research and legal writing prepared me immensely for both my 1L and 2L internships. Legal research equipped me with all the tools to understand and solve an unfamiliar topic area, while legal writing helped me condense my findings and conclusions in a succinct manner. As a litigation associate, most if not all your work will be research and writing focused, so it is important to develop those skills early on. The Fourth Amendment Writing Seminar and Trial Advocacy practicum also helped prepare me for a career in litigation. Both courses strengthened my analytical and critical thinking skills, while improving my written and oral advocacy skills as well. While other options are available to fulfill your 2L writing requirement, I highly recommend taking a writing seminar regardless, if litigation interests you.
Can you describe the job search process?
During the summer after my 1L year after the write-on competition, I started researching firms by size and location. I focused on each firm’s culture and created a spreadsheet for ease of reference. I also reached out to alumni working at firms that I was interested in applying to. One alumna working for a large firm in Houston took the time to conduct a mock interview with me. Her feedback was extremely helpful, and she also gave me some pointers for my resume. Afterwards, I cold applied to firms in Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City. I also applied and participated in W&L’s regional interview programs in Dallas, D.C., and New York City and in the on-campus interview program. My callbacks and offers thereafter were a mix between firms from W&L’s regional interview programs and my cold applications.
What are you most looking forward to about this job?
This past summer gave me a glimpse into life after graduation. I am excited to learn from exceptionally talented lawyers and to grow as an attorney.