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Career Paths: Lizzy Williams ’17L

Lizzy Williams, a 3L from Austin, Texas, graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in History and a Certificate in International Relations. Lizzy is Co-President of the Women’s Law Students Organization, a Burks Scholar, a Student Attorney for the Criminal Justice Clinic, a Lead Articles Editor on the German Law Journal, and a Research Assistant for Professor Todd Peppers. After her 1L year, Lizzy worked in Frankfurt, Germany at a German Law Firm. Before coming to Law School, Lizzy held a Government Fellowship teaching English from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and Women’s Affairs.

Lizzy Williams '17LLizzy Williams ’17L

What did you do for work this summer?

I was a summer associate with Sullivan & Cromwell, LLC in New York City. I mostly worked on litigation assignments, although I did try my hand at a few corporate pieces.

How did you find this position?

I got a phone call from Assistant Dean Jarrett of the Office of Career Strategy at the beginning of August 2015. I was applying to law firms and he suggested I apply to S&C. I had a phone interview with a Litigation Partner and then flew to NYC for my call back interview where I got to meet a litigation partner and associate and a general practice partner and associate, along with recruiting staff and a recruiting partner who practiced in the Estates Group. This gave me a good sense of the firm. The next day, I got a call giving me an offer for the Summer of 2016.

Describe your work experience.

S&C’s NYC office is located in the financial district. The building, which they own, sits on the water, and from my office I could see boats floating in the Bay. I shared my office with a first year litigation associate which allowed me to have someone there, whenever I needed help. This summer, I got assignments through the formal assignment system, from my partner and associate advisors, and from lawyers that I met at networking events. This variety allowed me to work on a litigation project in most of the areas that S&C does litigation. I also took part in a wide range of projects within these fields, from researching, to drafting, to creating interview questions, to helping to organize facts. I was able to get a real sense of what kinds of projects are available to attorneys at S&C.

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

Part of being a summer associate is juggling doing work with networking. I think my near over-involvement at W&L Law really helped me to keep both of those under control in the summer and to make the most out of all the opportunities. This summer I ended up drawing on things I had learned in Contracts, American Political Law Process, Complex Litigation: Injunctions, Close Business Arrangements, Publicly Held Businesses, Evidence and even Constitutional Law (for my pro bono project).

What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?

My favorite thing is also what surprised me the most! I was a little nervous about what the people would be like, because there are so many negative stereotypes about Biglaw and NYC lawyers and firm life. But, I am so happy to say that, in my experience, those people are the exception and not the rule! I met so many wonderful people across every part of the firm: from partners, to security. All of the lawyers loved their work, even when they wished for a few more hours of sleep. It was an intellectually stimulating world of people working hard.

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

I have a job! After graduation in May, I will be returning to Sullivan & Cromwell’s New York City Office, as a litigation associate.