Why did you choose to practice law and how did you decide to practice in your particular area of law?
In college, I double-majored in both physics and government/legal Studies, which inevitably led to people asking, “What are you going to do with those two degrees?” I had no answer until somebody suggested patent law as a potential career, at which point I arranged for a summer job working at a small IP boutique before my senior year of college. I really enjoyed the work, and found that I did not spend my day looking at the clock waiting for work to end. All of this led me to the conclusion that this is something that I could do for a career. At that point, I enrolled in law school with the singular purpose of practicing patent law upon graduation. Once I got a “taste” of patent litigation as a summer associate, it was clear I made the right choice.
What do you like best about being Hiring Partner?
Being able to help shape the future of the firm and to make sure we maintain the blend of personalities and talents that makes Alston & Bird such a great place to practice law.
In your opinion, what makes Alston & Bird a great place to work?
Incredibly talented lawyers that genuinely like one another. It still amazes me how well our attorneys get along, even when faced with the pressures of trial and tight deadlines. Each time we go to trial with and against other firms, the collegiality of our attorneys always sticks out as a point of pride and distinction for Alston & Bird. Of course, being able to communicate and work well together also gives us and our clients a very real substantive advantage.
If there was one piece of (career) advice you could provide to a law student, what would it be?
Bring energy and focus to whatever task is before you. For example, if you are asked to review documents, immerse yourself in the details and facts. You will soon find that your mastery of the facts makes you an indispensable part of the team and can lead to greater career opportunities. Also, meticulous attention to detail reassures those for whom you work (whether other attorneys or the ultimate client) that you have considered all angles and checked off all the right boxes, such that they will feel comfortable giving you bigger and better roles and responsibilities.
What was the most memorable recruiting experience for you personally as a law student?
I scheduled two call-back interviews in one day, thinking that the one that started at 1 pm would not start with lunch. Wrong. I ended up eating two big lunches, back-to-back, before interviewing at the second firm. I was too nervous to tell them that I had already eaten, so it was all I could do to make it through the afternoon without falling asleep!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have two young children, so obviously spending time with the family is a high-priority. I also enjoy mountain biking, skiing and fishing.
What is your favorite quote?
“I think I am, therefore, I am. I think.” – George Carlin
Who inspires you and why?
My wife was an elementary school teacher, and it opened my eyes. There are few gaps bigger than the gap between how vital a teacher is to society and what they get paid. The fact that teachers take on such an important, and exhausting task, nonetheless is inspiring.