Career Paths: Maddie Hawkins ’18, ’23L After graduation, Maddie Hawkins will be a corporate law associate with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP in New York.
Maddie Hawkins (‘18, ‘23L) is from Collegeville, Pennsylvania. She received a B.S. in Business Administration from W&L. After college, she worked for two years as a Project Assistant at King & Spalding, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. At W&L Law, Maddie is a member of Law Review, the Student Library Advisory Committee, and is a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Michael Doucette of the 24th Judicial Circuit of Virginia. She has also served as a Kirgis Fellow, President of the Environmental Law Society, and Events Chair of the Women Law Students Organization. She spent her 1L summer working as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Karen Marston of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and her 2L summer as a Summer Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP in New York. Maddie lives in Lexington with her husband, Witt (‘18), and golden retriever, Westley.
Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?
I will be working for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP in New York. I have accepted an offer as a Corporate Associate with a Real Estate rotation.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work in this field?
I did not. I knew I wanted to use my business studies from undergrad in some capacity. I also knew I wanted to start at a large firm if I could because I enjoyed my experience at King & Spalding, and I had seen a lot of benefits for young lawyers beginning their careers somewhere like that. Plenty of students come in knowing what they want to do, but plenty don’t, and I think there is a benefit to being flexible and open to different opportunities.
What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?
Location was pretty determinative for me because of my interest in corporate work. I wanted to be where that work was originating, and New York made the most sense. It is also closer to home for me, which was important. Having worked at a large firm, I knew that as an Associate I would benefit from being somewhere with the resources, caliber of work, and learning opportunities that are available at larger firms.
Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?
When I was looking for my 2L internship, I was focused on finding a firm that would let me try both litigation and corporate work. I have a business background that I wanted to use, but I also have experience working in litigation, so getting to compare what work a First-Year Associate would be doing in each group was important to me. Simpson allows for a lot of fluidity in your summer assignments, which I really appreciated. Seeing both kinds of work from the Associate perspective is what ultimately helped me decide corporate work was what I wanted to do.
What classes do you think are helpful to prepare for this job?
I found the Mergers and Acquisitions Practicum with Professor Chatman very helpful for my summer work. I worked on an M&A transaction at Simpson last summer, so having experience with deal documents from class made my summer work much less daunting. I also was better equipped to understand the complex deal and entity structures, which was very valuable.
Can you describe the job search process?
My job search process involved a mix of cold applications on firm websites as well as interviews that arose from networking with alumni. I started by creating a list of firms that had locations and practice groups I was interested in. I then went through and found any alumni that were at those firms using their websites or Colonnade Connections (W&L alumni database). I focused my networking with the top twenty firms I was interested in, which allowed me to have really meaningful conversations with those alumni. These conversations often resulted in them referring my application or even connecting me with alumni at other firms they thought I would like. Otherwise, I just focused on getting my applications in as early as possible after grades and journal results were released. It’s a daunting process, but we have a strong and supportive network of alumni who are eager to help students.
What are you most looking forward to about this job?
I am most looking forward to working with the people I got to meet during my summer internship. Everyone from my fellow Summer Associates to the Partners on my deals were so welcoming and helpful. I know it is going to be a great environment to begin my legal career and I am excited to join such a great firm.
Outside Law School
Hiking around Lexington and visiting the wineries – specifically 12 Ridges.
Favorite Location in Lexington/W&L Campus
I love walking Westley to the back campus gazebo and driving to the Blue Ridge Parkway pull-off in Buena Vista at sunset.
Advice for Prospective Law Student
Run your own race – don’t let what others are doing influence you, you know what is best for you.
Something/Someone you will miss at W&L Law
I am going to miss living so close to my friends!