Q&A: Law School to Law Firm
Associates Khatija Choudhry, Harry Levin, and Kayla Martin offer insights and advice to current law students and new grads on how to succeed in law school and transition from the textbook to the courtroom.
Q: What is your biggest piece of advice for how to succeed in law school?
Harry: Explore different areas of the law. You might discover new interests.
Kayla: Take care of yourself. It is easy to lose track of your health and wellness if you do not make them a priority. Check in with yourself regularly, and ensure you are pouring into your mental, physical, and emotional well-being just as often as you are pouring into your academic and professional endeavors.
Q: What did you learn in law school that has been most valuable in your practice?
Khatija: The practical experiences I had in law school, such as workshops, clinics, and internships, have been the most valuable to me in my career. Each of these opportunities allowed me to apply my legal knowledge in real-world settings and develop important skills such as legal research, drafting legal documents, and client communication. These practical experiences also allowed me to gain exposure to different areas of law and build my professional network. I would strongly encourage students to engage in these types of practical experiences as early and as often as they can.
Harry: Law school teaches you to think about issues from both points of view. It is a helpful skill to try to anticipate another party’s next move.
Kayla: Mentorship is invaluable. Seek out meaningful relationships with those who came before you, and be sure to pay it forward to the next generation of lawyers.
Q: How can new law school grads transition what they learned in class to the real world of practicing law?
Khatija: It’s important to develop relationships with both younger and more experienced attorneys who can mentor you through the transition. Mentorship within your organization or field of practice can be especially helpful as you navigate the transition.
Q: Why did you choose to work at Ballard Spahr?
Khatija: It is a great law firm to work for because of its commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. The firm places a strong emphasis on professional development and offers a variety of resources to support the growth of its attorneys. Additionally, the firm is known for its collaborative and supportive culture, which fosters a sense of community among its employees.
Harry: Ballard is a national law firm with sophisticated matters, and it also has a warm, supportive culture. The lawyers and staff want you to succeed and they go above and beyond to help you on matters large and small.