BY JOHN VANBUSKIRK, 3L LAW STUDENT
The “A Day in the Life of an Attorney” panel presented to students on April 3, 2017 provided tremendous insight into a variety of career paths and what attorneys do on a daily basis. The Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL) sponsored the panel moderated by Ashley Withers, Research Attorney in the Dallas office of Jackson Walker. Panel members included Maeghan Whitehead, Wesley Nute, and Leo Yu.
Ashley Withers, the panel moderator and member of the DAYL Board of Directors, began by explaining the value of law students joining DAYL. There is a small student membership fee of $25.00 per year or all 3 years for $50.00. Membership provides access to a network of outstanding attorneys and law-related events. Ms. Withers conducts in-depth legal and business development research for all practice groups, attorneys, paralegals and staff.
Maeghan Whitehead is with Gardner Haas, a boutique firm where she focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation. Ms. Whitehead advises young attorneys that communication skills are key and that you should know and appreciate your audience. Ms. Whitehead reminded us that filings can be lengthy and that keeping your writing clear and concise as possible is appreciated by all parties. She also advised students to find a mentor, actually more than one, and attend different events and activities. A good way to develop litigation skills and relationships is to observe trials.
Wesley Nute joined the Dallas City Attorney's Office in 2014 and currently serves as a Northwest Division Community Prosecutor. His job helps reduce crime and improve the quality of life. As a community builder, he works with police officers and prosecutors in court. Mr. Nute said to learn to develop a comfort level in the courtroom, he recommends mock trials. He advised students to be bold, reach out and explore their interests.
Leo Yu is a Research Fellow at the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America. His advice included to do well in legal writing. Mr. Yu also noted that lawyers should master civil procedure, a basic but necessary skill. He also advised students to not be afraid to ask questions, keep an open mind and constantly be on the look-out for opportunities – they may surface in the most unexpected places.
The panel was hosted by the Office of Career and Proesssional Development as part of programming activities for students on professional development.