How I Got My Job Through Networking: Nathan Burby (SJQ 2012), Summer Associate in the Hong Kong Office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
1. Your job? Summer Associate at the Hong Kong office of the international law firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. I’ve also been offered an associate attorney position for after graduation.
2. What did you do/what will you do? I worked in the Corporate Office-Capital Markets/Securities Regulations. Basically, if Asian or other companies want to do an offering in Hong Kong, we would help. I would also assist companies who want to do offerings and exempt offerings in the US. After graduation, I will take the New York bar, and then move to Hong Kong, where I will be an associate with the firm.
3. How did you learn about the employer and the position? I learned about the Freshfields when PDO held a small lunch meeting with Kyle Miller, an alum who works in Freshfields’ Frankfurt, Germany office. After we met, Kyle asked me to send him my resume. He then forwarded it to a partner in Hong Kong and recommended that they interview me. I was really weird, because I felt to me like they literally hired me off the street. Of course, I had some qualifications—I spoke Cantonese and Mandarin, and had spent my first summer interning in Hong Kong with the LDS church. But I just don’t think that I would have been fortunate enough to get an interview had I not gone to the lunch where I met Kyle Miller. I absolutely love the firm and am excited to go.
4. What was the application process like? I sent in my resume to Kyle. Kyle sent to the partner in Hong Kong. The partner said he would love to meet me. I happened to be Hong Kong for another potential internship, and was able to meet the partner in person. After about three weeks, I was offered a summer associate position.
5. What do you think helped you to land the position? How did your networking efforts play a role? Meeting Kyle Miller at the PDO networking lunch was without a doubt the most important factor in getting in the door. Once I was in the door, my language skills made a big difference. It was interesting that in the interview I wasn’t asked about my any of the classes I had taken (no questions about business or securities), but the interviewer (an American working in the Hong Kong office) was very impressed with my Eagle Scout—even though he was not one himself. Also, before I went into the interview, I researched the recent transactions that the office had done. This allowed me to mention a deal that the firm had just finished in which the interviewer had been the lead attorney—one of the biggest deals in Asia. This interviewer said he thought being a good corporate lawyer involved 10% knowledge and 90% desire to do good work, learn, and grow into the position.
6. What advice do you have for law students as they search for jobs? Go to any event that you can that features something you are interested in. Do not underestimate events like lunches or the firm crawl, career fairs, etc. They may not feel like they are doing anything, but you just don’t know how it may help. Get names, ask questions (beyond just asking “are you hiring”), see if there is anything you can do to help them, and follow up. If you want to work overseas, opportunities for work don’t just fall in your lap. You have to distinguish yourself.