Associate Life

Fennie Wang

Finding WilmerHale: A Journey of Gods and Fate

June 11, 2012 2:23 PM | Permalink | Print

Coming from a world of investment banking where you could count all the big banks on two hands, starting the law firm selection process felt a bit daunting: random last names scrambled together in various combinations, and I was to pick thirty of those for my bid list. Thank God my selection process wasn't alphabetical or else I probably wouldn't have gotten to WilmerHale.

Instead, I started my search by thinking about what city I wanted to live and work in, what kind of firm culture and size would fit my personality, and what areas of practice I was interested in pursuing. As for city, New York had no competition. I have lived here since 2006, after graduating from college. For better or worse, I'm slowly turning into a New Yorker (and you bet I'm competitive with getting cabs). Having previously worked at one of the world's largest banks, I wanted to work in a smaller, more intimate place yet a place still big enough to have world class resources and high caliber work. During my first year of law school I was quite interested in international arbitration, one of the hot areas of law at Columbia. In the field of arbitration, there are mythical gods that fellow arbitration aficionados worship. WilmerHale's resident god of arbitration is Gary Born. So WilmerHale was on the bid list.

But in the end, what really sealed the deal for me was my dinner with the hiring partners, Doug Curtis and Jay Holtmeier. (I just might have to elevate them to god status as well.) These guys were fantastic to hang out with—we didn't talk shop the entire dinner. Instead, we shared war stories and laughs. I walked out of the dinner thinking, this is it. I want to be in a place where I enjoy working with the people and where I can be myself.

As it turns out, during my second year of law school, I became increasingly interested in white collar defense, securities litigation and criminal investigations. It just so happens WilmerHale has awesome practices in these areas as well. My mother would call that fate. Sometimes things just work out for a reason.