The 14th Annual Bay Area Diversity Career Fair took place in late July, bringing together prominent law firms and legal departments with highly-qualified diverse second-year law students. A program of the Bar Association of San Francisco and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, the Career Fair was sponsored by Baker Botts and Morrison & Foerster.
The Career Fair kicked off Friday night with a panel discussion of distinguished lawyers from diverse backgrounds and practice areas at the Orrick office. The purpose of the panel was to speak to attending students about their chosen career path, why the panel attorneys chose their career, how they overcame any issues that they faced along the way, and how they use their diversity as a strength in their career path.
This year’s panel was moderated by Akasha Perez, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and featured Steve Chariyasatit, Instacart; Kevin Fong, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; Marc B. Koenigsberg, California Department of Justice; Jennifer Lee, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; and Jasmine Owens, Google. A welcome reception for both employers and students followed the panel where one of the Career Fair’s founders, Neel Chatterjee, Goodwin, provided welcoming remarks.
On Saturday, employers from nearly 70 Bay Area legal firms and departments conducted over 1,000 student interviews with law students from across the country. As an Orrick signature program and part of the Justice and Diversity Center’s pipeline program events, students are provided opportunities for summer associate positions that will shape their careers and help them visualize the possibilities for the future.
Photos from the Career Fair can be found on BASF’s page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sfbar.
Here is what participating students had to say:
“I traveled from New York and heard about it through my career services office. Hopefully, I will get a job but above all I received great experience and insight from diverse attorneys and industries. The first day before the reception was incredible. I found these were really great interview experiences whether they pan out or not, it certainly prepared me for on-campus interviews. I was very nervous and unsure of what to expect but now I feel very comfortable and it is really about sharing who you are with the person across the table to see if you’re a good fit for their firm. I recommend the fair and suggest students’ book tickets early if traveling. The people at Orrick and the Bar Association of San Francesco really do want to see your succeed and I felt it.”
Misbah Mohiuddin, Cardozo Law
“Aside from getting the pleasure to meet many employers, I’ve had the opportunity to interact and connect with other law students that I’ve met at other job fairs so it is nice to see that it’s a pretty small circle. I feel a little more prepared. I am getting exposed to interviews and meeting the employers.”
Debra Zepeda, UC Hastings
“I have gotten a lot of facetime with firms that I might not have gotten to see, especially ones with a strong California presence. I feel more prepared as with each interview I get better.”
Sarah Moy, Emory University School of Law
“Overall, the preparation process really helps me focus on what I was passionate about. I feel a lot more confident as the questions were not as technical as I thought and now I feel less nervous going into other career fairs.”
Suman Kaur, Golden Gate University School of Law
“I feel accomplished just having a better sense of what types of questions are asked for the interviewing process and really prepared me for on-campus interviews.”
Sigourney Jellins, University of San Francisco
“I think it’s wonderful to have a fair like this for diverse students who would not necessarily have knowledge about private practice so I have really gotten a chance to meet different people and different practice areas that I did not necessarily think were accessible to me before. I feel more confident and I know what is expected of me. I am not as intimated as I was before. I feel ready for when on-campus interviews begin.”
Yana Parlova, UC Davis