By Laqwesha “Lana” Lawson, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Breakfast with the Bar is a monthly IndyBar Law Student Division event held throughout the academic year where law students mingle with attorneys in a small group setting. Each event features a different practice area or type. While Breakfast with the Bar will take a break for the summer, keep an eye out for it to start back up in September, and enjoy a law student’s recap of the most recent session!
The Breakfast with the Bar: Commercial Litigation and Business Law, held on Friday, April 8, was a rewarding event. All attorneys in attendance practiced within business law and were transactional attorneys. The attorneys were from small, medium and large law sized firms, and their experience spanned from six months to over 20 years, bringing a range of perspectives to the table.
The courses the attorneys recommended were students take included secured transactions, bankruptcy law and a course in tax law. The attorneys encouraged students to become involved with networking events and other functions that will enhance their learning experience. In addition, they noted that it is important to show a true interest. One event they gave as an example is a mergers and acquisition conference that is held each summer in Indianapolis.
Some significant questions discussed by students and attorneys were related to career paths, day-to-day work structure and general advice about practicing business law. Their advice included the following:
- First, there is no one way to become a business attorney. One attorney spoke of his finance undergraduate background. He stated, “I rarely use the information.” There are “experts” in field, and it’s important to know when to delegate an unfamiliar task.
- Next, each day is completely different from the previous day. If you are in a smaller firm, you should expect to handle a variety of different business issues. However, your experience may be different at a larger firm. The best thing a new business attorney can do is be flexible to change.
- Finally, it’s important to be a hard worker. A hard worker who shows due diligence is greatly appreciated in this particular area of law.
Attorney Eli Isaacs of Faegre Baker Daniels stated, “When looking for an intern or associate, one thing that will distinguish you from another candidate is the cold pizza test.” The cold pizza test is a concept commonly used in Washington, D.C. law firms. It refers to a candidate who is likable and personable enough to get along with their potential colleagues while working at two o’clock in the morning on a project.
Students chat with attorneys over bagels and coffee at the April Breakfast with the Bar, which featured a discussion on commercial litigation and business law.