Summer Experience: Jacob Wamsley ’24L This summer, Jacob Wamsley worked as a summer associate with the in-house legal counsel at FedEx Ground’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.
Jacob Wamsley ’24L is from a small town near Pittsburgh, PA, and attended Allegheny College for his undergraduate degree. This past summer he worked with the in-house legal counsel at FedEx Ground’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. At W&L Law, he is serving as a Law Review staff writer and the Alumni Chair of the First-Generation Student Union. After law school, he plans to return to Pittsburgh to begin his career as an attorney.
What did you do for work this summer?
I worked as a summer associate with the in-house legal counsel at FedEx Ground’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.
How did you find/get this position?
After graduating college in 2020, I found employment with FedEx’s legal team as a paralegal and legal compliance intern, where I worked for a little over a year prior to law school. Fortunately, this gave me the opportunity to establish great connections with their attorneys and show my competence for the work. After departing for law school, they encouraged me to apply to their summer program for 1Ls. They must have liked me, because I got the position and the rest is history.
Describe your work experience.
My summer was split between their Business Transactions and Contractor Model practice groups. With the Business Transactions group, I gained experience drafting, amending, and analyzing complex corporate contracts. During my time, I was able to help draft contracts for purchases of goods and services, outside counsel agreements, and sponsorship agreements. My favorite project was a sponsorship agreement with FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) to advertise for FedEx in select college football bowl games! With the Contractor Model Group, I wrote a variety of research memos to assist the attorneys in advancing the company’s strategic goals and protecting its business model. This included researching litigation trends and competitive practices to inform the attorneys on new developments with potential ramifications for the company’s strategic development.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
Working with a company’s in-house counsel is unique because you get to see behind the scenes on how legal and business strategies intersect. Going through a contract with a seasoned business lawyer really opens your eyes to the endless nuances involved in crafting contract language. It was fascinating to learn the extent to which every single word is given careful consideration and serves important business purposes. Additionally, my mentors always emphasized the importance of “thinking like a business partner” in addition to an attorney, which added a valuable layer to my perspective on the legal profession. Most fundamentally, I would say my experience this summer greatly improved my research, writing, communication, and analytical thinking skills.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
Honestly, I was surprised by how much responsibility I was given. On my second day I was tasked with drafting a multimillion-dollar service agreement. Of course, I had an entire team of excellent attorneys supporting me, but I never imagined that I would be given such consequential projects so early. I felt that each of my projects throughout the summer provided substantive contributions to the company’s operations.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
Without a doubt, my favorite thing was getting to work with the amazing people at the company. FedEx Ground has an excellent culture that permeates into everything they do. I had wonderful experiences with my bosses, mentors, and co-workers, and created fantastic relationships that I believe will last a long time.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
Yes! Being surrounded by so many successful attorneys provided great networking opportunities. A lot of the attorneys I worked with were formerly at law firms in Pittsburgh that I was interested in, and they were always willing to help me carve inroads. I believe this was a huge help in getting interviews, including one with the firm I recently accepted an offer to join next summer.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
On a practical note, it has definitely helped cultivate an interest in business law, which I am continuing to explore through my classes this fall. More broadly, the example set by the people I worked with taught me the immense value of being personable, reliable, and willing to help others. The legal community, especially the one at W&L Law, loves to help one another and recognizes the value of promoting decent, trustworthy people. The importance of networking and showing good character can take you really far in this profession, and I hope to live up to their example with my remaining time at W&L Law.
Outside of Law School
“The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Favorite thing to do in Lexington
The W&L community has provided me with so many amazing friends. I love getting to hang out with them in any capacity, whether we are playing a round of golf, watching sports, or getting dinner and drinks at one of the awesome restaurants Lexington has to offer.