Advise for students
I think the fact that SMU has a strong emphasis on pro bono work is very important. I also think that many students come into the program, thinking that they want to go into the big firms because they see that as a way of being successful or being recognized for being successful. I want to just say that I think you learn so much more if you are in a smaller or medium-sized firm simply because you’re hands-on in there and your connection with your partners and your bosses and your clients is so much more direct. The learning curve is much steeper when you’re in the small firm. And especially when you start out, it may not actually hurt to have some of that. And I’ve done my first trial in my first year and that is not an opportunity that many people in a larger firm, these people are not gonna have that. And I think you also get more direct guidance because you’ve got a partner who’s just above you and you can go to him. But of course having said that, it really depends on the division in the large firm you’re in, some of them do operate that way and some small firms you might not enjoy that as well but I just say keep your mind open to other alternatives because it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got to get into the big 4 or 5 firms, otherwise you’re not going to make it. I think pro bono work is an excellent way of getting an insight into actual problems that people have.