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New Series – Alumni Spotlight

Starting this week, the OCPD Bulletin will feature a regular spotlight of a WCL alumnus/alumna.  This week, we are featuring Greg Seidell, a 2009 graduate who is an associate in the Investment Management group of Seward & Kissel LLP.  Seward & Kissel regularly participates in WCL’s Fall Recruitment Program as part of the New York Interview Program (NYIP) for hiring in its New York office.  In addition to participating in NYIP this year, the firm will collect resumes for its D.C. office.

Photo courtesy of Seward & Kissell LLP

How did you get started as an associate in the Investment Management Group with Seward & Kissel?

I participated in WCL’s OCI program (both the local WCL program and the WCL sponsored program in New York City).  I initially interviewed with S&K at the New York interview program and later visited Seward & Kissel for a callback interview.  During the Summer Associate Program, I was given the opportunity to rotate through all of the Firm’s practice groups.  I knew I wanted to focus on finance related work, and the Investment Management Group was a great fit.

What is a typical day at work like for you?

 My clients are typically investment advisers that range in size from smaller start-ups to large, well-known investment advisory firms.  Generally, I am assisting clients with establishing new investment funds or the day-to-day issues that come up for an investment adviser.  Additionally, I assist many clients with their ongoing regulatory and compliance work.  As the regulatory environment changes (following Dodd-Frank), there is an increasing focus on regulatory and compliance work for all investment advisers, regardless of size.  There is also a greater interconnectedness within U.S. governmental regulators and between U.S. governmental regulators and their foreign counterparts that leads to more complicated and, in many cases, time consuming, regulatory work that is new and challenging.  I enjoy the fact that each day brings with it new challenges, and I’d have to say that the level of client contact and responsibility I have been given is second to none.  Lastly, working in a field that is in flux forces you to stay on the forefront of the law, which is a great challenge to face.

Were there any particular law school experience(s) that especially prepared you for practicing with your firm/practice area?

There will always be law students who know exactly what type of law they want to practice; however, for many students, I think that the end goal is a little less clear.  Regardless of the category into which a student falls, I think a broad experience is helpful.  I knew that I wanted to focus on commercial / financial law, so I took more classes focused in those areas.  I also took classes outside those fields to see what I might also enjoy.  I think at least a basic understanding of business and finance (including accounting!) is important for all lawyers.  Finding internships/externships, publications or volunteer activities is something all students can do, and it is essential to leaving law school as a well-rounded attorney-to-be.  I found my time on the Business Law Brief and as a Summer Associate at Seward & Kissel to be rewarding and valuable experiences.

What advice do you have for law students interested in pursuing a similar career path?  

 Students should know that, like all things in life, there are many roads that lead to a particular destination.  If you know you want to focus on finance/business-related work, you should establish a foundation in business basics and know the types of careers that might be available.  Students should reach out to alumni that work in the field and ask how they got there and if they have any recommendations.  When evaluating a potential job, think of where you might be in a year, three years, etc.  Make sure you are continually evaluating what you are doing and asking yourself, “will this help me get to my destination?”

Is there anything else you would like to share with current WCL students?

Don’t forget about your family and friends; they will be the ones with you many years from now.  Also, read a newspaper!  So many students are so focused on the law books, they have no idea what’s going on in the world around them, especially outside the legal field.  When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s helpful to know current events, especially if they impact your potential employer.  Lastly, when you are deciding where to work, you have to make sure you like the people.  Lawyers are known to work long hours – I think most would rather a longer day with people they like than a shorter day with people they dislike.  Lastly, interviews can be a two-way street and so can summer internships; be observant and thoughtful (i.e., how do the various associates and partners interact, are doors open or closed, do the associates seem burned out, etc.).

Students can access internship and job postings and participate in WCL recruitment programs through CareerLink.  To identify your own career goals and create a personalized job search strategy, log into CareerLink to schedule an appointment with an OCPD counselor today.  For help with any CareerLink access issues, email careerdevelopment@wcl.american.edu.

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