Penn State Law Student Job Profiles
From "BigLaw" to government offices and everywhere in-between, our students are making their mark in their legal careers early.
Penn State Law 3Ls Andrew Kinsey and Aarish Sheikh focused their job searches on large law firms participating in Penn State Law’s On-Campus Interviews. This program, offered by the Penn State Law Career Services Office, brings employers to University Park to interview students for summer internships as well as full-time positions. Knowing that getting a summer position is a first-step toward a full-time position post graduation, Kinsey and Sheikh each secured summer associate positions with Skadden for the summer after their 2L year.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Quandalasha Fambro knew at an early age that she wanted to be a public defender for adolescents. When she arrived at Penn State Law, the Career Services Office and networking were critical in helping her to set her dreams in motion.
Tom Brier will work for U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Vanaskie after being selected to a highly competitive clerkship in Judge Vanaskie's chambers. “In a lot of ways, this is the culmination of everything I worked for since I first met Judge Vanaskie,” Brier said.
Preston Holmes started working with the Penn State Law Career Services Office to hone his job-seeking skills well before his 3L year, to prepare for a job search in the highly competitive New York City legal market. The Career Services Office connected Holmes to those who could help him in his search, including a person who ultimately interviewed him for his post-grad position at the New York City Law Department.
Chelsea Nichols knew all through law school that she wanted to work for a global specialization firm like Dechert. As a 2L, she participated in the On-Campus Interview Program that the Penn State Law Career Services Office offers. She sent her résumé in to a résumé collect for her first choice firm, Dechert, and landed an interview.
Growing up in Annapolis, Maryland, Chris Dempsey was exposed to the Navy from an early age. He knew he wanted to have a career in law, somehow connected to government or the military. When he came to Penn State Law, he kept an open mind and took advantage of all opportunities. Dempsey secured summer internships with offices of U.S. attorneys and district attorneys, re-affirming his passion for government work.
In his first year of law school, Robert Bonilla dealt with loss and adversity that unfortunately affected his grades. Feeling concerned about his future, he reached out to the Career Services Office at Penn State Law for guidance.
Brett Atanasio was ready for a challenge. At the recommendation of his mentor, whom he was connected with through Penn State Law's Career Services Office, Brett met with the representatives from WilmerHale at the National LGBT Bar Association’s Lavender Law Career Fair in Chicago.
Hailing from California, Cierra Vaughn knew the power of the more than 658,000-member Penn State Alumni network before she even arrived on the Penn State Law campus. Her mentor, a San Diego-based Penn State Law alumna, helped to connect her with the school, and Vaughn quickly realized the instant name recognition the school had on the west coast.
For Stuthi Balaji, the Penn State Law Career Services Office did more than help her find a job; they helped her find her confidence. When she landed an interview for her ideal job, she began to have feelings of “imposter syndrome,” like she wasn’t qualified or deserving of the position. The Career Services team helped her realize her worth, and the value of all of the work she had put in to get to this point.
Zach Cruz knew he wanted to pursue a career in tax law, which meant that he would likely work in a law firm or an accounting firm. After finding that he liked the culture of a large accounting firm, and realizing it would allow him to focus on what he wanted to do most, he called on the resources of Penn State Law to prepare him for his career. One of the keys to Cruz’s success was the vast network of Penn State alumni.
Alessandra Emini, a second-year student at Penn State Law, learned very quickly the power of the Penn State name when she began her search for a summer internship position last fall. She reached out directly to Pfizer in September, and after some convincing, found herself getting an interview. As it turned out, her interviewer had children who went to Penn State, and an instant connection was made.
As a first-year student, Patrick Opran began eyeing an internship with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) when he saw it come through on a Penn State Law Career Services email. Finally, he decided to apply, despite the fact that the position is primarily geared toward second-year students. Within hours of applying, he had an interview, and soon after, a job offer.
Cara Hytinen knew that the Penn State Law name was well respected, and having completed her undergraduate work at another Big Ten school, she knew she would have no trouble fitting into the Penn State atmosphere. But Penn State Law offered so much more along her path to becoming an assistant public defender with West Palm Beach Public Defenders, where she will begin her law career this summer.
Natasha Schuyler came to Penn State Law knowing that she wanted to work in public service. By getting involved in several student organizations during her time here, in addition to her rigorous coursework, she was able to lay the groundwork to secure a position in the Utica office of Legal Services of Central New York.
Thomas Finnegan wanted to work in a District Attorney's office after law school, and he wasted no time in starting down that path at Penn State Law. While at school, Finnegan was able to participate in a year-long externship program with the Blair County District Attorney's Office, something he was able to create on his own with help from the Career Services Office at Penn State Law.
Pursuing a judicial clerkship was not initially on Shani Walker's radar. But after working with the Penn State Law Career Services Office, where she learned more about the work and what it could mean for her career, a clerkship became her goal. The Career Services counselors guided her through the process of applying to, and interviewing for, a clerkship, and she will start with the Honorable James P. Wilson this August in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
With the help, guidance, and she might even say a "gentle push" of the Penn State Law Career Services Office, Kylee Reynolds landed her dream internship during her second year of law school. Upon the recommendation of Career Services, Reynolds attended Lavender Law, the LGBT Bar's annual conference and career fair. There, she made several valuable contacts, and when she applied for the summer position at Lambda Legal, she quickly was given an interview, and then an internship offer.
Knowing that he wanted to find a summer position that was right for him, Kyle Fisher began his search for an internship to follow his second year of law school early. Through the Penn State Law Career Services Office, Fisher learned of the Community Fellows Program. This program is designed to expose law students, in the summer after their second year of study, to the range of legal practice opportunities in Pennsylvania outside of its three largest urban areas.
Penn State Law students like Eric Schleich recognize that lawyers in rural areas are often working on legal issues as sophisticated and important as their counterparts in big cities. Working with the Penn State Law Career Services Office, Schleich learned about the Community Fellows Program at Penn State Law.
Adam Boyd’s goal when he decided to go to law school was to join the Department of Justice when he received his law degree, as he had greatly enjoyed government affairs while working in the U.S. Senate and International Monetary Fund. He knew that Penn State Law’s Semester in Washington program and Professor Shoba Wadhia’s immigration course would be key components of his education and future career, making his decision to attend Penn State an easy one. And it did not disappoint.
Jose Figueroa arrived at Penn State with an interest in international law, but he was not exactly sure what that might entail. So, Jose decided to take part in as many activities as he could handle to find an answer. During his three years at Penn State Law in University Park, Jose joined Phi Delta Phi, Phi Alpha Delta, and the Latinx Law Student Association (LLSA). Throughout that time, Jose learned that the practice of international law could take many forms, especially after taking a National Security Law course and being a blog writer for the Journal of Law & International Affairs.