Associate Life

Andrew Stauber

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, WilmerHale

September 5, 2012 10:33 AM | Permalink | Print

Right after I graduated from college in 2003, I stumbled into an amazing job: admission counselor for my alma mater, the University of Virginia. For two years, I spent the falls traveling around the country talking with students and their families about the college admission process and U.Va., the winters evaluating applications, and the springs organizing events for recently admitted students. It was amazing. Over those two years, I gave hundreds of presentations to prospective students on the cusp of making one of the most important decisions of their lives.

In most of these presentations, I remember offering some (mostly unsolicited) advice on how to pick the right school: search for the place that you feel comfortable calling home for the next four years of your life. Yes, you want to find a place with classes and majors that match your interests, and sure, the U.S. News and World Report offers a thorough breakdown of everything from student-teacher ratios to alumni donation rates, but it is vital to find an environment where you will feel comfortable and grow as both a student and person. The University of Virginia was the right fit for me, and I wished all of the prospective students the best of luck in finding the college or university best suited for them.

Fast forward half a dozen years and I realized that the advice I had given to prospective college students rang true in the law firm recruitment process. Yes, I spent my fair share of time researching practice areas in a given firm and noticed the various rankings and awards celebrated on each firm’s website, but I reached my ultimate decision based on the interactions and connections I made throughout the interviewing process. During my callback interview at WilmerHale, I can still remember sitting with Bryan Conley, talking about our respective journeys leading us to law school and discussing his experience working on a pro-bono death penalty appeal in Alabama. In meeting Bryan and my other interviewers that day, I felt genuine excitement for the practice of law. These individuals not only possessed a passion for the work that they were doing, but even more importantly, they displayed an appreciation and commitment to the people with whom they worked. Although I knew then that working for a large law firm could be demanding and came with its fair share of obstacles, I was encouraged by my observation that the people at WilmerHale were dedicated not only to the successes of their clients, but also to those of their colleagues. So, in September 2008, after being lucky enough to receive an offer, I chose to join WilmerHale’s summer associate program. Four years later, I remain thrilled with my decision, glad to have found the right fit for me. I hope all of you have the same fortune in finding a work environment that best suits you.