I studied biology in undergrad and thought I would go into medicine. Once I decided that was not the right path for me, I looked into taking different graduate standardized tests, including the LSAT. I realized that I really enjoyed writing and logic so I decided law school may be a great opportunity for me to further develop and use those skills. I also always wanted to make an impact through my work and believed law school would enable me to do so. That impact has taken different forms since I graduated from law school but has always been there.
Specifically, I chose Berkeley Law because the school was well known for being a leader in intellectual property law. With my background in biology and having worked with human sequencing and cancer research technology after college, I thought Berkeley would give me the best opportunity to learn about technology law. That also played a factor in my decision to join BTLJ and pursue the BCLT Certificate.
Please describe the position(s) you held on BTLJ and when.
During my third year, I was the External Relations Editor. One of my strengths is building relationships and I really enjoyed serving on the board in this role. Before that, I was an active general member who went to the all of the meetings, read the articles, attended the Bluebook parties, and regularly hung out at the office.
Please describe your most memorable law school moment.
My first law school moment shows my nerdy side. It was the moment I checked online for my first-semester grades. Starting law school, I had some self-doubt. Having spent high school in three different countries speaking three different languages, I felt I was always playing catch up. And, even though I had a strong undergraduate GPA, my LSAT was in the lower percentile of my Berkeley class. So I thought to myself, here I am at Berkeley, competing with all these great students from top colleges. I remember thinking, if only I could get one H [honors grade], then I can work my way up from there. I still remember the moment when I was sitting at the computer and I found out I got straight honors. This event was really pivotal, because it changed how I looked at myself.
The second moment wasn’t as nerdy. It was a halfway party the school hosted at the Bancroft Hotel in December of my 2L year. A great party with an amazing group of friends!
Please describe your current professional position and your journey there.
I am currently the CEO of PracticePro, a legal education start-up that I founded two years ago. Through career coaching, skills training, and innovative technology that we are building, we strive to change the way new lawyers learn to practice law.
Before starting PracticePro, I was an attorney at WilmerHale for almost 7 years. There, I concentrated my practice on patent litigation. I represented Fortune 500 companies at all stages of patent litigation and absolutely loved my practice.
PracticePro is a culmination of my passion for technology, law, and helping our next generation of lawyers. Even though in my current role, I mostly deal with corporate and employment law, my knowledge of intellectual property has served an instrumental role as we move towards creating an education technology arm.
What are some lessons you learned from participating in BTLJ that are relevant to your professional life?
It is important to accept who you are, focusing on developing your natural strengths while not neglecting any areas of weakness. Since most of my time on BTLJ was spent as a general member, I learned how to participate in an organization I care about while serving in a capacity that felt manageable for me at the time.
After I decided to take on a leadership role at BTLJ, I chose a position that enabled me to use my community and relationship building skills. That, however, that did not mean not taking the opportunity to also improve my knowledge of the Bluebook and strengthen my editing skills.
What advice do you have for current law students?
The legal profession is stressful and starts with law school. There are so many demands on you – classes, job search, journals, student organizations, and not to mention your personal life. On those hard days, remind yourself that you are here by choice. Get in the habit of taking care of your health and your personal life. You are high achievers and also human. So learn to be kind and gentle on yourself.
What is one piece of advice you would give to new lawyers?
I have two pieces of advice:
First, as a new lawyer, your concentration should be on becoming the best lawyer you can become by sharpening your skills. Don’t only focus on which firm pays more money, has the most prestige, is located in the nicer city, or has the shortest partnership track. Concentrate on working for people who care about your development as a lawyer, and learn the essential skills of a good lawyer.
Second, learn how to network smartly. You don’t need to go to networking events if it’s not your thing, but you must build your professional network in whatever way is most comfortable for you. There is just no way around it. And, always keep in mind that the quality of the relationships you are building is more important than how many business cards you can collect in an event.
***Edited for length and/or clarity.***