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Atanasio finds home in large firm


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  As an upcoming 3L student at Penn State Law, Brett Atanasio was ready for a challenge. He began his search for summer work at the National LGBT Bar Association’s Lavender Career Fair in Chicago. At the recommendation of his mentor, Brett met with the representatives at the fair from WilmerHale. They immediately hit it off, and after working with Penn State Law’s Career Services Office through the process of applying to “BigLaw,” WilmerHale flew him to New York City to interview with two partners and two associates. Within two weeks, he had a summer offer at WilmerHale’s New York City office in the World Trade Center.

“The people in the career services office are half career counselors, and half therapists,” Brett said. “They guided me through the process of applying to WilmerHale, and always told me it would be alright.”

While at WilmerHale, Brett was exposed to many different aspects of working in a large law firm. His primary focus was on white collar crime cases and securities cases, where he did litigation and investigation work. Everything from class action suits, to white collar criminal investigations, to stock offerings, he had a hand in. His favorite project was a particular investigation that presented complicated legal issues with areas of law that you wouldn’t typically see together, which exposed him to new areas of law.

Brett’s Applied Legal Analysis and Writing Course proved to be very useful, as he was doing research and writing every day. His experience in his White Collar Crime course was also incredibly valuable in his work.

“The skills I learned in Professor Vollmer’s class were absolutely critical to my success this year,” Brett claimed. “And I pulled out Professor Copeland’s White Collar Crime class outline as a reference several times, and even shared it with another Summer who had not taken White Collar.”

Acclimating to the large law firm environment was slightly disorienting at first, but Brett quickly adjusted. “Realizing that people can work for these amazing firms, like I did, and still be real people, with real lives, was a great take-away from my summer experience.” A second great take-away; Brett has accepted a full-time offer from WilmerHale, effective post-graduation.

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