The Columns

Career Paths: Mikail Clark ’17L

— by on March 24th, 2017

Mikail ClarkMikail Clark ’17L

Mikail Clark ’17L, a native of Washington, D.C., holds an MBA and two bachelor’s degrees from Liberty University. At W&L, Mikail is a Burks Fellow and the Advancement Editor of the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. After graduation, Mikail plans to take the West Virginia bar and practice there. In addition to practicing law, Mikail would like to start his own tax and accounting business, and one day, he hopes to delve into real estate investing. 

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

After graduation, I will join the Charleston, WV office of Spilman, Thomas, and Battle, PLLC. My practice will be evenly split between corporate transactional and litigation defense work.

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

Although I was not certain that I wanted to work in a law firm, I had a strong inclination that I would do so, particularly at the beginning of my career.

What role did the size and location of the firm play in the search and decision process?

During my search, I knew that if possible, I wanted to land at a mid-size firm because I believed that they generally strike the appropriate balance between giving attorneys a diverse workload and permitting them to have sufficient time for family life and civic activities. As I was open to living anywhere, I really did not care about the location of the firms to which I applied.

Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?

Recently, I was excited to learn that one of the memoranda I wrote while working as a summer associate at the firm was heavily used in a successful summary judgment motion. When notifying the client, the partner gave credit to me for the favorable decision. That confirmed my choices of career and law firm.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a your law firm job?

Of course, I recommend that students determine the bar exam(s) for which they will likely sit and to take classes that cover the subjects that will be tested on the bar exam(s). Further, I recommend that students take Close Business Arrangments (CBA), so that they can obtain at least a cursory understanding of how business organizations operate, and Sales, so that they can have at least a foundational understanding of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), negotiable instruments, and commercial paper. Otherwise, the classes that students should take totally depends on their preferred practice area.

Can you describe your job search process?

During my initial summer job search, I cast an wide net and applied to various law firms, public sector organizations, corporations, and NPOs using our jobs database Symplicity (which has since been replaced by SCORE) and other common job search websites such as Indeed, Monster, and USA Jobs. Ultimately, I landed several interviews, mostly through the Office of Career Strategy (OCS), and obtained a few offers, from which I chose Spilman. I spent my entire 1L summer at Spilman and had a great time. After spending part of my 2L summer at Spilman, I happily accepted an position with the firm in October.

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