DLA Piper News

By Ben Boyd, National Hiring Partner, and Diane Ross, Director of Legal Recruiting

Hello from me, Ben Boyd, the National Hiring Partner at DLA Piper. Diane Ross, our Director of Legal Recruiting, and I are thrilled (while a bit skittish) to welcome you to our new blog devoted to legal careers at DLA Piper.  

My legal career has had just one stop, at Piper & Marbury - one of our predecessor firms - right here in Washington, DC.  It was the go-go 80s, and the firm took a chance on a University of Arkansas law student who was ill prepared but eager.  I fell in love with DC and the firm – we have always had great people – and I never looked back. Twenty-four years later, I could not be happier with my big decision to join the firm. When I joined as a first-year litigation associate, the firm was made up of a little over 100 lawyers, and today, by way of some big mergers (see our timeline), we now have over 70 offices in over 30 countries and boast a roster of over 4,200 attorneys.  If only my stock portfolio had grown by 4,000% during that same time!

In 2005, I took on the job of DLA Piper’s National Hiring Partner. Each year, Diane and I, and our team of energetic recruiters across the country, search for the best law students and invite them to participate in our great summer programs. We measure their merit and have some fun along the way. We also actively hire lateral partners and associates and our team works hard to find the right fit for lawyers looking to change their career paths. We feel lucky to meet and work with so many talented law students and lawyers each and every day.

Over the next six weeks, you will hear from five DLA Piper summer associates as they embark on a unique professional adventure in cities across the US. They will blog their observations as they explore practice areas, meet new colleagues and learn about the cities where they are based. 

In our New York city office, Michael Volodarsky, a second-year law student at Rutgers, and Peter Couto, a second-year at New York University, will tell you about being a summer associate in the Big Apple.

Emily Pence, a second-year at Indiana University and Kira Proehl, a second-year at Santa Clara University, will blog about their time in Silicon Valley, the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development.

And, Uttara Kale, a second-year from the University of North Carolina, will let us in on the world of a summer associate in Atlanta, aka the ATL.

Follow our blog to hear what they have to say.

Kira Proehl

Please join our summer associates Kira and Emily on a guided tour of the artwork in the Palo Alto office. The tour begins on the third floor with the Corporate Group, continues on the fourth floor with the the Real Estate and Tax Groups, and will conclude with a foray onto the fifth floor and all things Litigation. Along the way they will tell us what they’ve learned about the various groups based on the art that surrounds them. As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.


Floor 3: Getting To Know The Corporate Group


Kira: So what we have here is an explosion. Perhaps of creativity?


Emily: It for sure shows that Corporate Law is comprised of a bunch of moving parts.


Kira: I guess eventually it all settles down into something concrete?


Emily: That’s the plan anyway -  or should I say process, as in Tom Marioni’s “Process Landscape #41” circa 1992.
Floor 3: Getting To Know The Corporate Group


Kira: So what we have here is an explosion. Perhaps of creativity?


Emily: It for sure shows that Corporate Law is comprised of a bunch of moving parts.


Kira: I guess eventually it all settles down into something concrete?


Emily: That’s the plan anyway -  or should I say process, as in Tom Marioni’s “Process Landscape #41” circa 1992.

When I agreed to blog about my experiences at DLA Piper this summer, I knew it would be fitting to discuss the event that likely will be a memorable highlight for all of us: our summer retreat. The event was great from the start. As an icebreaker, we all gathered at The Experience Music Project Museum (“EMP”), which is one of the coolest museums I have ever seen (and I’ve been to London and Paris)! We had delicious food and drinks and proceeded to learn about Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, got to see a collection of amazing guitars, and even played our own instruments. My boyfriend, a musician, was surely squirming with jealousy. It was great to hear about the other summer associates’ varying experiences, from those offices with only one summer associate to those with 10 or more.  By 11 PM, I had met some great people and the jetlag hit me, so I had to go to bed. 

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Lawyers love lists – especially rankings.  So, you’re welcome.  

1.  To thine own self be true This is as good a tip for young lawyers as it was for young Laertes.  Most would agree that, at least in some sense, to be a summer associate is to be engaged in a two-month-long interview.  But that doesn’t mean you should “act” in ways you think will impress others.  Remember that a summer associate position is primarily a chance for you to learn about the firm, and for the firm to learn about you.  Ultimately, each party will assess whether the other is a good fit.  If for nothing else than the sake of your long-term happiness, let that assessment be a genuine one.  This might not be easy to do at another, more cut-throat firm where there is no hope that anyone will ever like you.  But you were smart enough to end up at DLA Piper.  So give yourself some credit.  Just be yourself.  

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