Law students go to law school for many reasons. Not surprisingly, one reason is to land a plumb position with a large area law firm. Grand Rapids Campus Dean Nelson Miller caught up with a number of recent Grand Rapids law graduates who have recently joined large area law firms.
According to Miller, “the Grand Rapids campus has a long history of graduates who have started their career at such large national firms as the 600-lawyer Barnes & Thornburg and large statewide firms like the 100-year-old, 150-lawyer firm Plunkett Cooney and the 150-year-old, 130-lawyer firm Howard & Howard. Four recent campus graduates joined the Grand Rapids offices of three other large law firms. Congratulations, and we are pleased that they will start their career at the law firm of their choice, doing important work for significant corporate and individual clients.”
Campus graduate Lindsay Hartman just joined the large regional 220-lawyer law firm Warner Norcross & Judd headquartered in Grand Rapids. Lindsay was first employed after graduation with the premier mid-size firm Kreis Enderle before moving laterally to Warner Norcross where she provides corporate, compliance, and risk-management services to hospitals, health systems, and other medical-care providers.
Additionally, campus graduate Emily Rysberg recently joined the Grand Rapids office of the 130-year-old, 400-lawyer national law firm Dickinson Wright headquartered in Detroit. She feels that her position at Dickinson Wright has afforded her the opportunity to build upon and further expand the skill set that she developed as a young attorney. “I have the luxury of working with a dynamic and energetic group of peers,” said Rysberg. “It is an honor to learn from senior attorneys who have earned their place among the most well-respected in their field of practice.”
Emily was first employed after graduation with the premier mid-size firm Law Weathers before moving laterally to Dickinson Wright where she practices primarily municipal and domestic law. ”While I value the comprehensive education that I received at WMU-Cooley,” said Rysberg, “I also believe that the strong emphasis that Cooley places on teaching its students to network and integrate themselves into the local legal community was a critical component of my success.”
And campus graduate Ryan Duffy recently joined the 90-lawyer Grand Rapids-headquartered firm Miller Johnson. He practices civil litigation and is a member of the firm’s healthcare-reimbursement group. Ryan, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and an awarded combat pilot, was first employed after graduation at an area small firm before moving laterally to Miller Johnson.
Brittany Harden also joined Miller Johnson recently and works on corporate financial transactions and mergers and acquisitions. She previously worked at both a large national law firm and in a corporate legal setting, as well as interned in the United States Senate. Brittany believes that her path to Miller Johnson has shaped her in many ways. “I started out at Cooley, thinking that a small firm would be the best fit for me,” said Harden. “Since graduation though, I have worked both in a large national firm and as General Counsel with a Michigan-based automotive supplier. Each position was unique and a good experience in its own way, but neither allowed me to reach what I felt was my full potential, along with being a good fit for me. Even today, I feel that the legal field is still very much male-dominated, and as a woman with a family, I believe it is important to recognize that a cultural fit in a workplace is just as important as working in an environment that can push you to your fullest potential. Having said that, my education at WMU-Cooley was key in, not only learning the legal substantive material, but in fully preparing me for life in a law firm. As a young attorney, I feel that learning how to handle pressure, in addition to having the ability to produce quality work, gives you the necessary skills and motivation needed for career success.”