Jared Kephart sees time is his most precious asset. Last year, he decided to focus on finding a summer associate position that offered the best fit for geography, practice area, and stability. For Kephart, that meant Pittsburgh, oil and gas, and a firm with no-debt financing. He zeroed in on K&L Gates and enlisted the help of career services dean Neil Sirota in making an approach.
“Dean [Neil] Sirota was extremely helpful. He made calls and helped me apply to four or five offices that would be a good fit for me,” Kephart said.
Kephart landed an informational interview first and then a callback for Pittsburgh, which meant meeting six people over three hours—and lunch. He felt that he “really clicked” with everyone he met. Two weeks later he learned that he was selected for a summer position.
This summer, Kephart has taken assignments in oil and gas as well as white collar crime. The “free market” approach to managing assignments at the firm means that he can pick up assignments depending on who he enjoys working with and people who enjoy working with him. He’s not restricted to a particular practice group.
Oil and gas is one of his top interests because the law is developing so quickly. Kephart credits Professor Ross Pifer’s courses in Oil and Gas Law and Law and Policy of Shale Gas Development with providing the “key vocabulary” that enable him to work competently in the field. He sees plenty of opportunity for a new lawyer to get involved in shaping the law as it develops in the Northeast.
So far, Kephart reports that the most important on-the-job skill is research and analysis, with writing as a close second. “Clean, well-cited work is every bit as important as the quality of your analysis,” he said, remembering that his 1L legal writing professor, Nicole Chong, who is a former litigator, frequently made this point in class.
“I absolutely love Pittsburgh,” he said, explaining that the Pittsburgh market is often “underappreciated” by law students. “There’s everything I’d want in a city but without the insanely high cost of living in New York or DC.”
He’s also been able to network with Penn State Law alumni in the area as well as a few classmates, including Derek Markel, Christina Bustros, Melissa Rodriguez, and Forrest Smith. At the end of his summer internship, Kephart was offered and has accepted the opportunity to return to K&L in January of 2016 following the bar exam.
About K&L Gates
- 2,000 lawyers
- Offices in Anchorage, Austin, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Brisbane, Brussels, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Doha, Dubai, Fort Worth, Frankfurt, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Miami, Milan, Moscow, Newark, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, Perth, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, San Diego, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Spokane, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington and Wilmington.
- Ranked in 2013 by Law360 for a third consecutive year within its “Global 20” as one of the “20 law firms that had the largest global presence and were involved in the biggest, most complex, and most diverse array of cross-border matters.”