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Career Paths: Sarah Curry ’15L

Sarah Curry ’15L graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University in 2009 with a B.A. in International Relations and French. She then spent three years as a Program Manager and then C.O.O. of an African development charity. Upon graduation, she will join the firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York.

Sarah Curry '15LSarah Curry ’15L

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

I will be working for Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ Capital Markets practice group in their NYC office.

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

I have always wanted to go BigLaw. Even if you don’t want to stick with it long term (most people don’t), getting a few years’ experience in a big, national or multi-national firm opens up all kinds of doors down the road.

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

Anyone who has worked as a summer associate in a big city will tell you that it is one of the best experiences of your life. Though the summer programs may not be all that representative of what life is really like as an associate at a big firm, it still affords you the opportunity to try out different practice areas while also getting to meet all of your future colleagues. My summer at Weil was amazing to say the least and I have no doubts that I made the right choice.

What classes do you think are helpful to take to prepare for a BigLaw job?

This is a tough question. It is one that I asked a number of associates and partners during my internship–and everyone had a different answer. I think the consensus is that if you want to go into transactional work, you need to take some basic business law classes (CBA, Publicly Held, Tax, etc.) and if you’re going into litigation, it helps to take anything to do with evidence, civil procedure, etc. Of course, if you’re going into a specialized area of the law such as bankruptcy, tax, or the like, take as many targeted classes as possible. Going into capital markets, I was told that as long as I had Securities and CBA under my belt, I was set.

Can you describe your job search process?

I got my summer associate position through the regional OCI interview program. I focused my search on DC and NYC, but realized fairly early on in the process that I was better suited for New York. Before applying for the OCI interviews, I made sure to speak with at least one alum from each firm that I was applying to. The problem with applying for big-law jobs is that pretty much all of the big firms do the exact same kind of work and have the exact same kinds of clients. It’s not enough to write a cover letter or walk into an interview and say that you want to work at X firm because they have interesting, top-tier clients and do amazing work, because that could be true of any of the top firms in the country. What is most important is to figure out what the firm thinks sets itself apart from the rest. Being able to show that you’ve done your homework and really tried to learn about a firm’s inner-workings will help a lot when it comes to your interviews.

When deciding between firms, it all came down to personality for me. If you’re going to spend 80-90% of your waking life in an office, you’d better be in an office with people that you genuinely like. I was far too focused on things like Vault rankings at first, but I really don’t think that that’s the way to go. Find a firm with practice groups that you’re interested in and people that you like spending time with. If the work is fascinating and the people are awesome, life is going to be much easier down the road.