Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

Career Paths: Meg Sawyer ’15L

Meg Sawyer ’15L is a third year law student from Columbia, Maryland. She serves as one of the Executive Editors of the Washington and Lee Law Review and she is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa. Meg spent her 1L summer as a judicial intern for a Senior United States District Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia and she spent her 2L summer in Charleston, South Carolina working as a summer associate for K&L Gates. 

megsawyer Career Paths: Meg Sawyer '15LMeg Sawyer ’15L

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

After graduation, I’ll be working at K&L Gates in Charleston, South Carolina. I’ll be a member of the firm’s litigation team, working primarily in the area of labor and employment law.

Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work for a big law firm?

I did not know that I wanted to work for a big law firm coming into law school. At the time, I thought I would ultimately choose to work for a small-to-medium sized firm.

What experiences in law school changed your mind?

Part of what led me to a big firm was the recruitment process. The school’s OCI opportunities make it really easy to access big law jobs, whereas smaller firms are often more difficult to find. Big law firms also open the door to more locations and more practice areas. Going into my 2L year, I was still unsure as to what kind of law I wanted to practice, but I knew that by working at a big law firm over the summer, I would have the opportunity to try a myriad of different practice areas.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job, and when would you recommend taking them?

I would recommend taking some of the more business-oriented classes available at W&L. Even if you don’t plan on doing corporate work, it helps to have a general understanding of this type of law because it tends to pop up in a lot of other practice areas. Even if you plan to do litigation, it helps to have a background in business so that you can follow discussions and understand the terminology. I particularly recommend taking Close Business Arrangements (CBA) and Publicly Held Businesses. I would also consider Accounting and Finance for Lawyers.

Can you describe your search process?

I started the application process for big law jobs in June of my 1L summer. When I applied for these jobs, I specifically targeted the Southeast, so I focused on cities like Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston. I targeted this region mainly because I wanted to live in the Southeast, but also because the name “W&L” carries a lot of weight in this region. Most partners at firms in the South are familiar with Washington and Lee and appreciate the school’s strong academic reputation. I ultimately decided to work for K&L Gates in Charleston because of the great location and the size of the office. K&L Gates is an international firm, so it’s one of the larger law firms in the world. But the Charleston, SC office is on the smaller side (40 or so attorneys) so you get the best of both worlds: big law resources and projects with a more intimate office environment.