Category Archives: Student jobs

Tulane Law grad steers NBA D-League’s Grand Rapids Drive

Professionals from across the National Basketball Association, in New Orleans for the All-Star Game, gave Tulane University students a behind-the-scenes view of the league Feb. 17. But the most picture-perfect perspective came from Tulane Law alum Jon Phelps, a 2012 graduate who’s already risen to general manager of the Grand Rapid Drive, the NBA Development League team of the Detroit Pistons.

Jon Phelps (L ’12), general manager of the Grand Rapid Drive in the NBA Development League, advises Tulane students on landing a job in pro ball during a day of All-Star Game-related panels Feb. 17.

Phelps enrolled at Tulane for the Sports Law program and took the classes required for a Sports Law certificate, including antitrust, intellectual property and labor law. He also served as a research assistant for Professor , director of the program, and a nationally known authority on some of the high-profile issues in the industry.
When both the NBA and the National Football League had player lockouts during Phelps’ second year, he said, “my classmates and I were able to study many of the legal issues surrounding these professional sports leagues in real time,” he said.
During his third year, he was symposium editor for the Tulane Law Review’s symposium issue on the role of antitrust law and labor law in shaping the landscape of professional and intercollegiate sports.

Professor Gabe Feldman (far right) leads a discussion with Jason Hillman, Cleveland Cavaliers senior vice president and general counsel, Ben Lauritsen, Portland Trailblazers senior vice president, and Melissa Goldenberg, Phoenix Suns general counsel.

His first job after graduation was a two-year stint at New Orleans civil litigation firm Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore, where he focused primarily on scientific expert witnesses in cases involving complex medical device claims. But in 2014, the Grand Rapids Drive was hiring in its basketball operations department, and Tulane graduate Andrew Loomis (TC ’02) encouraged Phelps to apply.
As director of basketball operations for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, Phelps handled tasks from washing team uniforms, organizing team travel and driving players to and from practice in a 15-passenger van, to helping prepare for the draft and scouting opposing players for potential trades and NBA call-ups.
“Because the staffs in the D-League are smaller, everyone has to do a little bit of everything to help out, and so I got exposure to how a D-League team is organized and how it should be run,” he said.
Phelps was promoted to Drive general manager in summer of 2016 and now manages the staff, scouts, handles personnel work and generally oversees the operation, regularly updating the Pistons on the team’s progress.

Bleacher Report writer Jonathan Abrams (center) describes his route to becoming an NBA beat writer, along with Howard Beck of Bleacher Report (left) and Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver.

“I absolutely love my job and am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that I have,” Phelps said. “The D-League is the best place for me to learn, grow and develop, and I’m hopeful that I continue to get the opportunity to help run our team in Grand Rapids.”
The Feb. 17 panels, sponsored by Tulane University, Tulane Law, the Sports Law program and the English Department, drew students from across campus. Phelps’ advice for breaking into the league was straightforward: “Position yourself.”
Get experience in the field you want to work in. Show potential employers the kind of work you’ve done. Demonstrate ways in which you can add value to a franchise.
“Teams are going to assume you are passionate, hard-working and very intelligent, as are the hundreds of other people applying for the same sports-related job,” he said. “Taking the time to try to answer a question facing the organization, or putting together a project that demonstrates your understanding of the league as a whole can give you an edge to stand out.”

Summer work reflections: Law firm living

Each summer, Tulane Law students take off on opportunities near and far, working legal jobs, volunteering for pro bono service and studying abroad. Meet two third-year students who traveled beyond their home states to gain valuable experience and land permanent positions with major international firms after graduation.

Hayley Fritchie (L ’16): Louisiana native ventures to NYC

Tulane Law | Hayley Fritchie (L '16)

Louisiana student Hayley Fritchie (L ’16) enjoyed New York with her mother and brother — on his first trip to the city. Photos courtesy of Hayley Fritchie.

This summer, I worked with Proskauer Rose in New York. Being from Louisiana, I wanted to remain close to my family for law school with the hope of one day going to New York, which made Tulane Law the perfect fit. New York is a fantastic place to start your legal career, expose yourself to the sharpest minds in the legal profession and work on the most exciting cases.

As summer associates, we participated in a variety of tasks, including formal assignments, shadowing opportunities and summer program workshops, and we took assignments from all practice groups. That allowed us to try everything while still having the option to focus on a particular area.

I went in unsure what practice group interested me most and left with an incredible interest in labor and employment law. I was initially attracted to the field after taking Labor Law with Professor Friedman. Labor and employment attorneys counsel clients on an array of matters in an ever-changing area of law, and Proskauer has an incredible labor practice. The mentors in the group were instrumental in my success at the firm, and I loved the variety of assignments I was exposed to. For example, I researched the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. religious discrimination decision and legal issues in denying same-sex married couples employment benefits, to name a few. I drafted formal and email memos and gave in-person briefings to attorneys on my research.

Tulane Law | Hayley Fritchie (L '16)

Hayley Fritchie (L ’16) and fellow Proskauer Rose summer associates attended the 2015 NBA Draft.

In addition to formal assignments, partners and associates provided shadowing opportunities. I sat in on court hearings and client calls, getting an inside look into Proskauer attorneys’ work. Finally, the summer program put on four different workshops focused on negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, oral argument and mock trial. These programs were supervised by attorneys who gave us direct feedback.

As summer associates, we kept busy with projects during the day but also participated in activities outside the office. We took a cooking class, attended the Tony Awards, ventured on a scavenger hunt across the city, went to the NBA Draft and participated in a service day — to name a few! The events were a fun way to form relationships with my summer associate class and explore the city. The best part about most activities: We were visiting Proskauer clients!

My journey to Proskauer began when I participated in the New York interview program during my 1L summer. Assistant Dean for Career Development Sarka Cerna-Fagan encouraged me to participate, and she, along with CDO Director Katie O’Leary, put me in touch with alumni who’d worked with the firm. The interview and Tulane connections led to my summer associate offer.

At the firm, I felt ready to tackle assignments, thanks to my coursework. But beyond academics, I think Tulane’s culture helped shape me into a summer associate people enjoyed working with. In law school, it can be difficult to put aside competitive feelings and work with others to create the best work product possible. But Tulane’s collegial culture helped me make friends easily and taught me to work with my colleagues. I’m grateful to Tulane for making me a real person!

Tulane Law | Hayley Fritchie (L '16)

On a break from legal assignments, Hayley Fritchie (L ’16, left) learned culinary basics at a cooking class with summer associates and attorneys.

My summer experience shaped the rest of my life. As I suspected, New York is the perfect place to begin my legal career. On the other hand, I was unsure if working in a firm would be a good fit. I spent my 1L summer as a judicial intern, so this was my first time in a firm. I am now surer than ever that starting practice with a large firm is perfect for me — the people are brilliant, the resources are incredible and the learning experiences are never-ending. I found my passion in the labor and employment group and am so excited to practice. After graduation, I will be clerking for a federal judge in the Southern District of Mississippi, then joining Proskauer’s New York office as a labor and employment associate.

Emily von Qualen (L ’16): Midwesterner explores the Gulf Coast (and beyond)

I split my summer between Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Houston and Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, getting an insider’s look into life at different law firms.

Tulane Law | Emily von Qualen (L '16)

Emily von Qualen (L ’16), an Iowa native, worked in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Houston and New York offices. Photos courtesy of Emily von Qualen.

I started at Skadden, working with the Houston office’s general litigation group. One of my big projects there involved helping draft arguments for a motion to dismiss in a class action derivative suit for a technology company. This gave me an in-depth look into argument framing and editing, and I felt like an integral part of the team doing substantive work. I also worked on a pro bono report on prison reform recommendations for the New York Bar Association, and my part focused on prisoners’ mental health needs. Beyond research and writing, I observed client phone calls, depositions of potential class action plaintiffs and strategy meetings about jury selection.

Skadden also sent me to its New York office for a few weeks, where I did shorter-term projects, researching discrete questions of law and giving email answers to supervising attorneys. I also observed a motion argument in a state supreme court. The New York office had a different feel from the Houston office, because it had more than 600 attorneys and 100 summer associates. Being able to get a broader perspective of the firm was great, and, as an Iowa native, living in New York was an adventure!

In both Skadden offices, I socialized with attorneys and other summer associates at lunches and other events. Almost every day, I went to lunch with different attorneys, which allowed me to get to know them much better. One highlight from New York was doing a citywide scavenger hunt that took us all over Manhattan looking for clues. I wasn’t familiar with New York beforehand and loved learning more about the city. In Houston, my favorite event was an amazing dinner prepared by a local chef at a partner’s home.

For the last part of the summer, I clerked at Liskow’s New Orleans office. I chose Liskow because of its strong environmental regulatory and litigation practice, and while there, I worked on several environmental law projects. For example, I researched and wrote a memo about how a company could be responsible for improper disposal of barge waste by another company. After drafting a memo, I got feedback from attorneys and went through a few rounds of edits before my memo was sent to the client. Having lawyers much more familiar with the field critique my language and organizational structure was especially helpful, because it helped build my substantive knowledge and strengthen my writing skills. And having the memo sent to the client was very rewarding.

Tulane Law | Emily von Qualen (L '16)

At Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, Emily von Qualen (L ’16) honed commercial and environmental litigation skills.

I also worked on general litigation projects, including some on federal and Louisiana Rules of Civil Procedure issues. For example, I researched possible mechanisms for a Louisiana party to compel a non-resident to appear in state court. One highlight of my summer was observing a two-day trial in Thibodaux, Louisiana, in which Liskow represented an oil company seeking easement rights to run a pipeline across the other party’s property. I had seen a trial in federal court the previous summer, but I had never seen one in state court. I really enjoyed observing a different courtroom style and seeing experienced litigators argue.

Outside researching, writing and observing legal practice, I was able to socialize with the attorneys in more relaxed settings. Liskow has coffee time every morning for attorneys to have casual conversations, and it highlighted the firm’s congenial atmosphere. Most days, I went to lunch with a group of attorneys, which was also a great way to get to know them and sample wonderful New Orleans food. In addition to daily social gatherings, Liskow had two main summer events: a cocktail reception at Commander’s Palace and a poker night. Both were great events that most attorneys attended, and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

My summer jobs showed me invaluable perspective on associate life at different firms, gave me hands-on legal experience and confirmed my interest in litigation. After graduation, I will continue to build on my experience as I clerk for Judge Minaldi, a federal district judge in Lake Charles, Louisiana for a year. I will then join Skadden in its Houston office.

Dual degrees open far-reaching possibilities for Tulane Law alumni: Part three

Though a JD degree can lead to an array of practice areas – from securities to sports law, environmental to energy law – students focused on specialized fields can use Tulane’s dual-degree programs to open more doors in traditional practice and beyond. In four years, students can earn a JD combined with a graduate degree in another field, yielding deeper expertise and broader career opportunities.

In Lagniappe’s final dual-degrees feature, meet identical-twin brothers who paired their JDs with MBAs and now are tax attorneys for leading national corporations, one in-house and the other as outside counsel.

Law + Master of Business Administration: Brian Page

As an undergraduate student, Brian Page (L/MBA ’09) aimed toward a career in politics. But that ambition waned after he completed internships in the field and earned a political science degree, so he took an alternate path. He refocused on law and business and enrolled in Tulane’s combined program.

His path veered again when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast just days into his first year of graduate studies. Brian’s apartment flooded, ruining everything he owned. When Tulane’s classes reconvened in January after a semester’s hiatus, he faced a less-than-ideal situation for studying: living in temporary housing, having to replace all his possessions and attending a condensed lineup of classes.

Despite the challenges, Brian tackled the JD/MBA program’s demands, focusing on tax and finance classes, working on the Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law and finishing in fewer than four years. (His twin brother, Rich, joined him in Tulane’s dual JD/MBA track in 2006.)

Tulane Law | Dual Degrees | Rich Page & Brian Page

Rich and Brian Page earned joint Tulane JD and MBA degrees within one year of each other and are both practicing as business and tax attorneys. All photos courtesy of Rich and Brian Page.

Brian’s hard work paid off. He landed an internship with ExxonMobil during school that turned into a coveted career opportunity after graduation: working in-house for a major energy corporation. Brian, who went on to earn an LLM in tax from New York University School of Law, worked at ExxonMobil’s locations in Fairfax, Virginia and Houston before taking on his current role as a tax attorney at the company’s worldwide headquarters outside Dallas.

Lagniappe: Why did you pursue dual degrees?

Brian: My main motivation was curiosity. I was interested in both fields, and I wanted to learn about both business and law, so the program seemed like the perfect fit for me. I majored in political science in college and had internships focused on politics, but I discovered that I wasn’t as interested in that area as I originally thought I was. In the end, I felt drawn more to law and business.

Lagniappe: What was your experience in the two programs?

Brian: I focused closely on finance at the business school and thought it was a great program. . . . I took many tax law classes at Tulane Law and also some real estate law classes. . . . Overall, I found that the two programs really reinforced each other, and I was able to pick up a strong understanding of both fields.

Lagniappe: How did you balance the two programs?

Brian: It was very busy! You have to really learn to manage your time and be prepared to not have a lot of spare time for certain stretches, especially because many of the JD/MBA students end up taking two or three more credits per semester than students in just one program.

I also should mention that I did the whole program in three-and-a-half years. I got to Tulane in August 2005, right before Hurricane Katrina, went back in January 2006 and graduated in May 2009. In the hurricane, I lost everything – all my possessions. My apartment was destroyed in the storm, was later looted and had mold growing over everything. I had to live on a cruise ship for my first month back at law school. And after all of that, just two-and-a-half years later, I was interning with ExxonMobil, the largest publicly-traded company in the world. It shows you that you really have to count your blessings and not count yourself out sometimes. You have to keep trying even when things are difficult, because something really good could be right around the corner.

Lagniappe: What are some of the benefits you’ve gained from your dual degrees?

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | Brian Page

Brian Page (L/MBA ’09) accepted the 2012 Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono President’s Award on behalf of ExxonMobil. The award recognized the company for its pro bono service to low-income Houston residents.

Brian: One thing I definitely find is that my background has helped me be quicker at analyzing complex material. I’m often working closely on business projects with financial spreadsheets or calculations . . . all of which can be more complicated than you’d initially imagine. I think I grasp those things more quickly than some of my peers who just went to law school and didn’t study finance.

Also, a lot of law school is based solely on your exams at the end of each semester, but business school focuses more on teamwork and presentation skills. As an in-house attorney, I’ve drawn on those skills considerably when giving presentations and participating in meetings. . . . The skills you’re forced to learn coincide very well with what it’s like to work in a big corporation.

I think it also helps in terms of being relatable to people or connecting with folks. As an attorney, so many of your clients have gone to business school, whether it’s in an undergraduate or MBA program. With the group I’m in now, I’m working very closely with 20 MBA graduates. So the fact that I also did that program means I can relate better to them and know what they know. It’s really valuable from a connections standpoint.

Lagniappe: What advice would you give students considering dual degrees?

Brian: I think the sooner, the better to focus on one area for employment if you’re in a dual-degree program. If you target one thing, you can become really focused on that area of law. I think that allows you to get internships, learn about the industry to know what you’re getting into and be more well-informed about the job opportunities available. It’s also a good signaling mechanism to employers, showing what your primary interest is in. For the most part, while it can be tempting to switch around and explore different areas, I think it’s better if you can choose earlier on. . . .

More generally, I think the program is really valuable. It’s an extra year of school, so you’re not working or earning a salary as soon as you could be, and the opportunity cost seems expensive. But you have 30+ years to work, and the skill sets you build and benefits you gain from being better-rounded will easily make up for the initial expense, so I think it’s certainly worth pursuing.

Law + Master of Business Administration: Rich Page

Rich Page (BA ’04, L/MBA ’10) says he has “an insatiable appetite for learning.” His five degrees back that up: BA in political science from Tulane University; MPP from the University of Chicago; JD/MBA from Tulane; and LLM in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

The New Jersey native says he actually considered going for a PhD after earning his master of public policy. But he instead opted for the JD/MBA combination after weighing the broader practical and professional benefits.

And when selecting law and business schools, Rich quickly decided on Tulane — where he’d completed undergraduate studies and where his brother, Brian, also was studying in the JD/MBA track. After enrolling, Rich balanced both schools’ course loads while serving on the Tulane Law Review.

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | Rich Page

Rich Page (BA ’04, L/MBA ’10) holds five degrees — three from Tulane — counsels clients on the tax impact of business transactions and investments at Akin Gump’s New York office.

Now practicing tax law in the New York office of law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Rich says his joint legal and business background help him serve his clients’ diverse and complex needs. Before joining Akin Gump, he worked with Deloitte and Ernst & Young, two of the world’s prestigious “Big Four” professional services firms.

Lagniappe: Why did you decide to pursue dual degrees?

Rich: I knew I wanted to go into professional services, and I didn’t see law and business as entirely separate. I figured if I ended up focusing most of my career working on the business side, I’d want to have a firm understanding of the law, and, alternatively, if I ended up working full-time as an attorney, I would want to have a deep understanding of the business world, how people there think and what formal training they have received. . . .

I should also add that I have an insatiable appetite for learning. I had very seriously considered going for a PhD, and the JD/MBA was the alternative for me. One thing I considered when deciding, was that, from a practical standpoint, the JD/MBA would open many more doors career-wise. I also saw it as a much more powerful learning opportunity than a PhD. The information you learn in the JD/MBA is generally much more applicable to everyday life.

Lagniappe: What drew you to Tulane’s program?

Rich: I was tired of the cold winters in Chicago [where I earned my master of public policy], but I also really enjoyed my time at Tulane. I missed New Orleans, and I knew that Tulane has highly reputable business and law programs, which not every school has. Additionally, I had the unique situation that my identical twin brother was pursuing combined Tulane JD and MBA degrees at the same time, and he thought it would be fun if I joined him.

Lagniappe: What was your experience in the dual-degree program?

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | Rich Page & Brian Page

The Page brothers spent three years together at Tulane studying law and business — and enjoying New Orleans.

Rich: I thought it was a very good combination, because business and law are very closely related. Oftentimes, I had business classmates asking me legal questions when something about contracts came up in our business courses, and I also had law school classmates asking me business questions about things like finance and investments.

Also, both programs focus on writing and communicating clearly, which I thought was great. Even as a law student, you can benefit from taking courses at the business school about public speaking and business communications.

Lagniappe: How do you think your combined degrees have helped in your career?

Rich: The degrees have definitely helped. I’ve actually had clients and prospective clients who have been directly interested in engaging someone who has a joint legal and business background. One of the largest engagements I worked on at Deloitte was with management consultants on-site at a Fortune 100 company, where the client specifically requested that someone with a law degree join Deloitte’s team there. So I was specifically sought out to work as a business consultant within the general counsel’s office of a major company, which I did for about six months.

I also have a prospective client who is the CEO of a family business that has about $30 million in annual revenue, and he has said he wants me to be his point person directing all of his professional services. He’s not seeking someone who’s just an attorney or a business advisor. He really likes my comprehensive background, because he’s seeking both legal and business advice. He wants someone to look at the entire scope of his international business operations, give him advice from A to Z and help him identify other professional service providers he might need.

Lagniappe: Do you have any advice for students considering dual degrees?

Rich: For the JD/MBA or any other dual-degree program, I wouldn’t focus exclusively on short-term career benefits. The degrees very well may help you in terms of short-term job placement, but I would also think of it as an educational pursuit and a long-term investment in yourself, your personal knowledge and your career.

Dual degrees open far-reaching possibilities for Tulane Law alumni: Part two

New law students may be counting down the days until they can choose their courses as upperclassmen and explore a wide range of legal topics. But they may not realize they can broaden their studies even further by adding onto their JD degrees.

Tulane’s dual-degree programs equip students with invaluable skills and opportunities to excel in specialized career paths — by earning a JD with another graduate degree in only four years. From the JD/MSW to the JD/MA in Latin American Studies, dual degrees open doors in traditional legal practice and far beyond.

Lagniappe’s second dual-degrees installment features a grad who’s aiming for a career in national health policy and joined her JD with a Master of Health Administration.

Law + Master of Health Administration: K.T. Kramer

K.T. Kramer (L/MHA ’14) started with a clear vision for grad school: earn a master’s in public health to learn strategies for improving international health systems. But her path shifted while she was working for the Peace Corps, when she realized she needed to understand the law in order to shape meaningful policy. She decided on dual JD and MPH degrees and enrolled at Tulane.

Shortly after she signed on, though, her course veered again. She switched to a combined JD and MHA track so she could learn to navigate increasingly complex health systems in the U.S.

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | KT Kramer

K.T. Kramer and Leif Brierley, this year’s two David A. Winston Health Policy Fellows, are both working on Capitol Hill for the final months of their fellowships. All photos courtesy of K.T. Kramer.

K.T. successfully juggled the demands of both programs at Tulane. During school, she investigated employee benefit claims while working at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ New Orleans office; was active in the Public Interest Law Foundation and the Disability and Health Law Society; and analyzed municipal health laws as an extern with the City of New Orleans’ Health Department.

After graduation, the West Virginia native began a yearlong program as one of only two David A. Winston Health Policy Fellows. The Winston Fellowship is a national postgraduate program based in D.C. During the program, fellows rotate through meetings with national health care insiders over three months, then work at full-time health policy placements for the remainder of the year.

As part of the prestigious and highly selective program, K.T. has met with more than 200 health executives and policy leaders to learn the industry from the inside and is now working with Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, in Washington, D.C.

Lagniappe: Why did you go for dual degrees?

K.T.: I decided to look at joint-degree programs while a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan. When I started Peace Corps, my future plan was to get an MPH and work in global public health programs. However, while in Turkmenistan, I became much more interested in understanding how health systems as articulated in laws, regulations and policies are translated into people accessing health care and services. . . . But I realized I didn’t understand the language of the applicable law, and I needed to become proficient in that to be able to make real changes in health care, so I decided to earn a JD as well . . .

When I returned to the U.S. in 2010, I initially enrolled in the JD/MPH program, but I realized after the passage of the Affordable Care Act that the same questions of how to translate law into a real health system were present in the U.S. I transferred to the MHA program because I wanted to get a stronger understanding of the U.S. health system.

Lagniappe: What was your experience like in the JD/MHA program?

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | KT Kramer

K.T. (far left) attends the 2015 Winston Fellowship Health Policy Ball, the fellowship’s primary fundraiser.

K.T.: I think, like any student that goes to Tulane, I can say that I had a wonderful experience. It was undeniably challenging to balance the demands of both programs academically and practically . . . . But, I gained substantial subject matter knowledge in both law and health administration, made great friends, had great opportunities to gain practical experience as a student and got to live in New Orleans for four years!

Lagniappe: What was your impression of the program overall?

K.T.: I think the JD/MHA provided complementary skill sets that were very helpful. . . . [the] combination gave me a strong background that could prepare me for a career in health care, health law or health policy.

In particular, the practical aspects of the MHA program – the site visits, the public speaking and the terrifying accounting assignments – were a valuable addition to the law school curriculum. If I pursue health law in any capacity, knowing how to read financial statements and present information to managers will be helpful.

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | KT Kramer

Through her fellowship, K.T. (pictured at the White House with Leif Brierley) has explored D.C. and mastered the role of a Hill staffer – researching and analyzing legislation, organizing hearings and completing briefings.

Lagniappe: How do you think your dual degrees have helped prepare you for your career?

K.T.: I’m currently a health policy fellow, working for Sen. Alexander on the HELP committee, where I staff issues related to the Affordable Care Act, Food and Drug Administration and Public Health Service Act. The joint degree gives me credibility in terms of both law and health care. I was much more familiar with the breadth of issues that I work with on the committee from the start because I learned a lot of the subject matter.

Second, as I am realizing now as I search for my next position, the joint degree provided me with a much richer alumni network. And, particularly from the MHA perspective, they are in my field. Tulane’s alumni are fantastic and always willing to be helpful, so it’s incredibly valuable to have those helpful people in the industry that I want to work in.

Lagniappe: How would you describe the benefits of a dual degree to prospective students?

K.T.: In general, for all the dual degrees, I’d say that seeing both sides and being able to read a regulation or law and understand how to talk about it in the industry you’re working in is an incredibly valuable skill . . . having a more targeted education, you get the understanding of how to talk about legal implications in ways that make sense to the people you’re working with, whether they’re clients or co-workers in a legal organization. . . . Also, when you know you’re interested in a particular subject area and can learn how to talk about the applicable laws for that field, a joint degree is really helpful.

Lagniappe: What’s next for you?

K.T.: My health policy fellowship will wind up in June. Now, as I’m searching [future] positions, I’m considering all the options: do I want to have typical legal career working for a firm or government office where I work with health care clients, and what are the options there? Do I want to stay in a more policy-focused role, stay on the hill and work with any of the number of think tanks or lobbying organizations here? Or do I want to go to a private company? I have lots of questions to be answered. But having a double Tulane alumni network is very helpful in that regard, and I’m sure it will come into play. There’s something about being from Tulane that makes people very excited to meet you. They’re a very energetic and active group of alumni . . . it’s a great resource.

Dual degrees open far-reaching possibilities for Tulane Law alumni: Part one

Law students (and graduates) often cite the JD degree’s breadth as one of its top draws. You can study criminal and corporate law in the same semester, while spending your free time representing indigent clients in a law clinic and pursuing scholarly writing for a legal journal. Law school provides a flexibility and diversity of studies unlike other graduate programs.

But Tulane’s dual-degree program allows students to stretch their studies and career paths further. In four years, students can earn two degrees: a JD combined with another graduate degree from a wide range of areas, including business, accounting, healthcare administration, public health, international development, Latin American studies and social work.

The extra year of school pays off: Tulane’s dual-degree grads finish on track to be leaders in their fields, with strengthened expertise, extensive alumni networks and expanded opportunities at graduation.

In Lagniappe’s first dual-degrees installment, meet graduates who doubled their JDs with a Master of Social Work and a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies.

Law + Master of Social Work: Bethany Van Kampen

Bethany Van Kampen (MSW ’13, L ‘14) was bent on a career dedicated to helping others – but she didn’t realize how far she could reach until enrolling in Tulane’s dual-degree program.

After studying psychology in college, Bethany spent two years with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, teaching English and female empowerment and helping women develop a small farming business. She then returned stateside to pursue combined Tulane law and MSW degrees.

Bethany Van Kampen earned a master of social work in 2013 and a law degree in 2014 from Tulane.

Bethany Van Kampen earned a master of social work in December 2013 and a law degree in May 2014 from Tulane. Photo by Joseph Halm.

At Tulane, Bethany delved into women’s health issues: she interned with then-Sen. Mary Landrieu, Judge Bernadette D’Souza at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, AIDSLaw of Louisiana, Metropolitan Center for Women and Children and the National Women’s Law Center; worked as a student attorney in the Domestic Violence Clinic; and co-founded Tulane’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice, an energetic student organization that’s garnered two national awards after being on campus for fewer than four years.

After graduation, she landed a job with the public affairs team of Planned Parenthood in New Orleans, gaining both policy and volunteer programming experience. And now she’s completing a fellowship with Sen. Barbara Boxer in Washington, D.C. that’s facilitated by Women’s Policy, Inc. and funded through Tulane’s Newcomb College.

Lagniappe: Why did you decide to earn dual degrees?

Bethany: I think what really drew me to the dual degrees was the idea of informed policy-making. Social work gives you the ability to understand where your legal clients come from and allows you to meet them at that point. I think certainly in traditional legal practices, like litigation, a social work background helps . . . but it does even more so for those working in policy-making and public interest law.

Lagniappe: How would you describe your experience in the combined program?

Bethany: It was a little complicated because I switched between the two programs a few times throughout the four years. . . but it was wonderful when I was able to combine both fields. For example, I did a summer internship with AIDSLaw of Louisiana, and I was able to get the social work perspective from working with clients directly, but I was also able to do legal work and get that perspective, too.

Lagniappe: What do you think are the biggest benefits of the combined law and social work degrees?

Bethany Van Kampen (center right) and her peer Women's Policy, Inc. fellows attend the organization's annual gala in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Bethany Van Kampen.

Bethany Van Kampen (center right) and her peer Women’s Policy, Inc. fellows attend the organization’s annual gala in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Bethany Van Kampen.

Bethany: One thing that’s great about the social work degree is that it helps keep me connected. I think it can be easy to lose sight of the individuals we’re trying to help when we’re working on the macro level, shaping broad law and policy. But my social work background helps me keep that perspective. . . .

Another huge benefit of this degree combination is its flexibility, because it’s applicable in so many settings. Social work is a very broad degree, and so is law. I like the flexibility of being able to do clinical work for a few years, then do policy work, then practice law and come back again!

Lagniappe: How do you think your dual degrees have helped set you apart?

Bethany: My dual degrees have certainly drawn attention in interviews, and employers have been very intrigued by the combination. And truthfully, the combination is so unique . . . since I’ve graduated and have been working, I haven’t met anyone who has the same degrees I do.

Lagniappe: What’s next after your fellowship ends?

Bethany: I definitely want to stay on the Hill for another year or two, and then I hope to work for a women’s rights organization doing policy work. There are so many groups in that field here in D.C., so hopefully I can find something. And I’ve recently starting thinking that five years down the road, I’d actually love to come back to New Orleans and maybe run for state representative. Working in D.C., a theme I keep hearing is that there’s such a lack of young women running for office . . . I really think we need to fix that, and Louisiana would be a great place to do so!

Law + Master of Arts in Latin American Studies: Annalisa Cravens

Annalisa Cravens

Annalisa Cravens, currently completing a judicial clerkship with U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans, graduated with dual law and Latin American studies degrees.

As a Tulane undergraduate student, Annalisa Cravens (BA ‘10, L/MA ’14) immersed herself in her Latin American studies program. She studied abroad in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, became proficient in Spanish and Portuguese and studied Latin American perspectives in social sciences. But she still wanted to learn more – and decided to continue in Latin American studies when she applied to Tulane Law School.

Annalisa spent a year earning her master’s before transitioning to law school, where she also thrived. At Tulane Law, she worked with an immigration clinic and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, completed an externship with Judge James Dennis at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and served as senior articles editor for the Tulane Law Review. And she wrote a law review comment that won a Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing, one of the nation’s top legal writing honors.

She’s now completing a one-year judicial clerkship with U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans before starting her legal practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Houston office.

Lagniappe: Why did you pursue dual degrees?

Annalisa: I earned my undergraduate degree in Latin American studies at Tulane, so I enrolled in the master’s program mostly because I enjoyed my undergraduate studies so much. The master’s program is also fully-funded at Tulane, so I thought, why not? I didn’t realize going into it how much employers would value the master’s degree in terms of language skills and acquisition. . . . Latin American studies is what I really love and enjoy, and I wanted to continue my education in the field. I always say you should do what you like, and things will work out.

Lagniappe: How did you break up your studies in both schools?

Annalisa: I did one year in the master’s program, and then I did three years of law school. My master’s year actually felt a little like a fifth year of college, since I had just graduated in Latin American Studies the previous summer! It was a very easy transition.

Lagniappe: What are some of the benefits of the dual-degree program?

Annalisa: Tulane’s Latin American studies program is the best in the states. Every department at Tulane has at least one really strong Latin Americanist, and Tulane is consistently ranked at the top for Latin American studies. And one of the great things about the Latin American studies program is that it’s completely interdisciplinary, and you can pick your route within the program. I did a more social sciences-oriented track, but other students may focus more on language or art. There are classes in economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, art and music, to name just a few. You’re free to pick your area of focus.

Lagniappe: How have your dual degrees helped set you apart as a job candidate?

Annalisa: Since I’m clerking for a judge right now, my Latin American studies degree hasn’t been the most applicable here. But when I was interviewing for jobs, I was surprised how much employers focused on it. So many interviewers asked me if I was sure I didn’t want to do transactional law, because language skills are great for a transactional practice. But I assured them I wanted to do litigation! And there are plenty of ways I can use my skills in litigation – like international litigation and arbitration or working with foreign clients and attorneys.

Also, during my last summer clerking, I had the opportunity to speak with attorneys in Skadden’s New York office who do international arbitration work. And at one point in the summer, the Houston office’s managing partner and I met with attorneys from a firm we were working with in Mexico. It was a great experience.

To tweet or not to tweet? Mastering today’s legal job search

Tulane Law School | Twitter

Tulane Law School is active on Twitter. Are law students? Employers? Recruiters?

Technology streamlines the legal job search in ways not available just a few years ago. Students can apply for jobs online, email cover letters and resumes to potential employers and research firms in minutes. But it also raises questions for law students caught between digital job search techniques and more traditional approaches to entering the legal market.

Should I tweet the firm I want to work for? Should I email that recruiter or call? Do I really need a LinkedIn profile? Is it ok to use the selfie I just Instagrammed as my Facebook profile photo?

The Career Development Office works to balance law students’ and employers’ perspectives on best practices for landing a legal job. The CDO offers a host of programming covering all aspects of the job hunt. The Student Bar Association’s CDO liaisons arrange for students to take discounted headshots to use on their online profiles. (Hint: It’s probably time to lose that selfie.) The CDO liaisons also offer business card ordering to assist students in more conventional job search tactics. And Assistant Dean for Career Development Sarka Cerna-Fagan and CDO Director Katie O’Leary explain the digital dos and don’ts for the student job search.

Tulane Law | CDO

Rebecca Schwartz (L ’17) poses for $5 professional headshots at the CDO.

Do you think social media has changed the landscape for the job search? If so, do you have any advice on how students should navigate that?

Katie: I do, and I think there are some positives and some negatives. Starting with the positives, it’s much easier to connect with practitioners than it used to be. You don’t have to have an email address for them or have someone introduce you, so we often encourage students to connect, especially on professional sites like LinkedIn. I think Twitter can also be a great use for that. If you’re interested in a particular field, it’s very easy to follow the heavy-hitters and communicate with them one-on-one . . . It’s also easier to prep for interviews, because you can easily find out what firms or employers are doing based on their Twitter and Facebook pages. The negative is obviously that students are also out there from the world to see. From day one, we remind them of that. Our students are professionals, so I think it’s rarely an issue. However, they do have to be aware that employers are checking them out online and making decisions on a social media platform about whether they’d be good fits for their organizations.

Sarka: But I think there is a little caveat, and it is that the legal profession is so traditional and is famous for not keeping up with technology. . . . The students who are very creative may have a hard time complying with those traditional requirements, like ivory-colored resumes and matching envelopes. To some extent, students may feel restricted when they reach out to employers.

Katie: And I think that goes for social media, too. It’s much easier to use social media if you’re interested in a field that’s a little more cutting-edge. I always think of the sports law students when I think about this, because most of the heavy-hitting players in the sports law arena are very present on social media. A student interested in that field can find out pretty much everything they want to know online. . . . A student who’s interested in a corporate transactional setting may be a little disappointed in the fact that they’re not getting as much from the practitioners whom they’d like to connect with. That being said, I think a lot of the larger firms are doing a great job of promoting themselves on social media. I follow a lot of the big firms in our local market and can find out pretty much anything they’re doing at any time, but that is not the case for smaller and mid-size firms, and those are the employers a lot of our students go to. I think some of our students may be a little ahead of the people they’d like to connect with, because they’ve just been doing it longer. It’s a transition.

Tulane Law | CDO

Jamar Green (L ’16) reviews headshots he can incorporate into his resume and social media profiles to help his job search.

Sarka: It’s just the little things. I remember some students could not understand why they shouldn’t have [QR] codes on their resumes. I know for sure that some of the more traditional recruiters just don’t like that. But if you are applying to a solo practitioner who does a lot of IP work, they may be more likely to click. So it does depend on where you’re applying.

Katie: It does highlight, not necessarily the generational gap, but the gap between students and professionals. Because in our field at least, the important people are not necessarily valuing technology as much, and students may be valuing it a little too much. I feel like both sides could get to a happy medium. It is an issue we have with students – you can’t always email, you can’t always expect texts, you sometimes have to get on the phone or in person and chat.

Sarka: Lawyers are also used to talking a lot, and now the students and younger population seem more comfortable texting and emailing. Sometimes, we have had issues when emails are not as clear as talking to someone in person. Students should think about getting outside their comfort zones and meeting in person or picking up the phone, rather than sending emails or text messages.

Katie: But, to answer your question, that is the flip side of it. Students have to kind of work backwards, because they need to work within the parameters of the decision-makers in the field. At some point, those decision-makers may come around to more social media, more technology, more texting, but at this point, I don’t think the majority of the field is there.

Sarka: They still need to play according to the old rules.

Q: So it sounds like social media is a good resource for students, but it isn’t a substitute for the traditional ways of communicating with employers.

Sarka: That will happen when these students become partners one day!

Katie: But by then the new students and associates will be onto something else and won’t even use email anymore!

Psst… Are you following Tulane Law School on social media? If not, what are you waiting for?
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TulaneLawSchool
Twitter: www.twitter.com/TulaneLawSchool

Students wait to take discounted headshots and order business cards, arranged by the Student Bar Association's Career Development Office liaisons.

Students wait to take discounted headshots and order business cards, arranged by the Student Bar Association’s CDO liaisons to help with students’ job hunts.

Six unique opportunities to give back

Law students meet with representatives from a variety of local public service programs at Tulane Law's Pro Bono Fair every fall.

Law students meet with representatives from a variety of local public service programs at Tulane Law’s Pro Bono Fair each fall. Photo by Ali Mansfield.

With the fall semester winding down, Weinmann Hall seems quieter as students hunker down for finals. But that only temporarily masks how active the past few months have been as students juggle classes, extracurricular activities and service to the community.

Tulane Law values its leadership role in public service. Tulane was the first U.S. law school to require pro bono work as part of the curriculum, and students collectively have provided more than 200,000 service hours during the program’s 25+ years. Other schools have added pro bono to their graduation requirements, but even Jeopardy! recognizes Tulane’s distinction as the leader: it was a clue on the show in October.

While Tulane Law students have dozens of different pro bono opportunities with community partners, Assistant Dean for Public Interest Programs Julie Jackson points to these six as her most interesting:

  1. Entertainment Law Legal Assistance (ELLA)

New Orleans is an exciting hub for art, music and drama. But how can upcoming artists afford to protect their interests in the often-cutthroat entertainment industry?

ELLA, a collaboration of Tulane Law School, the Tipitina’s Foundation and the Arts Council of New Orleans, provides legal advice for performers and artists. Students help clients protect their interests and recognize their rights under contract and intellectual property law.

“ELLA’s perspective is unique,” Jackson said. “Students quickly see that lawyers can be proactive and can help clients avoid or minimize future legal problems.”

  1. Gulf Restoration Network (GRN)

One of south Louisiana’s less-celebrated claims to fame: its rapidly eroding coastline. But students can get involved in ongoing efforts to save the coast through legal channels and raising public awareness.

Public Interest Program Coordinator Eileen Ryan and Assistant Dean Julie Jackson help students find service opportunities locally and nationally each year. Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano.

Public Interest Program Coordinator Eileen Ryan and Assistant Dean Julie Jackson help place students in a host of unique service opportunities locally and nationally each year. Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano.

The GRN is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Gulf Coast, and it offers law students invaluable experience in environmental law. The GRN tackles water quality, sustainable fisheries, smart energy, hurricane rebuilding and endangered species protection. Law students at the GRN may review permit applications, help develop corporate accountability resolutions and perform legal research.

  1. Eden House

Eden House, a residential program for victims of commercial and sexual exploitation, provides exposure to the legal issues surrounding human rights violations. Founded and run by Tulane Law graduate and former U.S. diplomat Kara Van de Carr (L ’98), Eden House connects its clients to various rehabilitative services, including legal aid. And cities across the nation are now looking to it as a model for supporting human trafficking survivors, Jackson said.

“The program takes a holistic approach to helping clients, who may have legal concerns but also have social, educational and healthcare needs,” Jackson said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for law students to be exposed to the interrelationship of law with other fields.”

  1. New Orleans City Hall

Fascinated by politics and government? Through Tulane’s partnership with the City of New Orleans and its Volunteers in Government of Responsibility program, law students work alongside undergraduates at City Hall, assisting with various aspects of municipal government. (B.Y.O. political aspirations.)

  1. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Tulane’s newest pro bono offering is with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, providing a chance to see the operation of an office within a vast federal agency.

Although the department offers assignments covering an array of legal projects, much of the local DHS office’s work pertains to immigration issues, a key area overseen by the department and one where students can get timely experience in immigration law.

Caroline Wick and Angela Pokorn (both L '15) attend a hearing for a POPS client at Angola Penitentiary.

Caroline Wick and Angela Pokorn (both L ’15) attend a hearing for a POPS client at Angola Penitentiary.

  1. Tulane Project for Older Prisoners (POPS)

This program originated at Tulane Law School, focusing on an often-overlooked segment of Louisiana’s overcrowded prisons: inmates over age 50 who have already served the bulk of long sentences. POPS represents selected, older inmates in parole hearings. This sector
of the prison population poses a significantly lower risk of recidivism, or committing more crimes. The program benefits the public by saving funds spent on costly, continued incarceration and freeing limited prison space
that may be better utilized for younger, higher-risk inmates.

Under the supervision of Tulane Law alumna Suzy Mixakis (L ’03), POPS successfully represented four clients this fall.

“Students learn to interview the clients and also see the correctional system from the inside out, which is an invaluable experience for all citizens, as well as for future lawyers,” Jackson said.

No 1L left behind: Inside the Career Development Office

Is it stereotype or reality? A first-year student scurries into class, realizing too late he’s missing his case briefs for today’s assignment. Then he overhears a classmate bragging about a prestigious internship she just landed for next summer – and it’s only October. “How am I possibly supposed to find a legal internship,” he wonders, “when I can’t even find my homework?”

Tulane Law’s Career Development Office doesn’t want that anxiety to be reality. Assistant Dean for Career Development Sarka Cerna-Fagan and CDO Director Katie O’Leary explain how their office is making sure no 1L is left behind in the legal job search— through professional development, one-on-one counseling and mentoring opportunities.

Q: How would you describe the role of the CDO for first-year law students?

CDO Director Katie O'Leary has an initial career counseling meeting with 1L (name).

CDO Director Katie O’Leary has an initial career counseling meeting with a first-year student.

Sarka: I think the most important thing we do is introduce the first-year class to the steps they need to take, the timeline for taking them and the many opportunities there are. Even though some students come from a legal background, many have no idea what being a lawyer entails or don’t realize how many opportunities there are.

Katie: We try to help them design a job search strategy that’s going to work for them. We also try to think short-term, in that students don’t want to get too stressed out yet about what they’re going to be doing at graduation. We try to focus them on what they’re going to be able to do this summer to get some experience on their resumes.

Sarka: We have classes in which we cover topics that should be relevant to every student, and then we have one-on-one counseling sessions with them individually. . . . One of the things I think people don’t realize is that having a career is really just stepping from one stone to another to get across the river.

Q: Do students tend to focus more on their endgame and not think about the little steps it takes to get there?

Katie: A lot of them come in with very specific goals of what they’d like to do post-grad, which is great. But it’s not always possible to get there right away. So, for example, if they come in and say, “I really want to be in-house post-grad doing something corporate—”

Sarka: Or “working for the Saints.”

Katie: That’s a great example. “I want to be in-house for an NFL team.” It’s our job to show them how they get there — what practical steps they can take for the first summer, for the second summer, what they will do initially after finishing school — and helping them see how these little experiences could build into what they ideally want to do. The other thing is, we know from experience, the interests many come in with are not the interests they have later.

Q: When do you begin working with the 1Ls?

Career Counselor Pat Guzman-Weema and Asst. Dean for Career Development Sarka Cerna-Fagan lead the 1L mini-course on professional development.

Career Counselor Pat Guzman-Weema and Asst. Dean for Career Development Sarka Cerna-Fagan lead the 1L mini-course on professional development.

Sarka: We started the mini-course Monday, Oct. 13. There, we cover topics like resume and cover letter writing, job resources, networking, interviewing and describing different legal practice areas. That’s another thing – students have little exposure to anything other than litigation, so many think they want to be litigators. But there are many other practice areas they may enjoy, and many first-year students haven’t been
exposed to them yet.

Katie: However, we don’t actually meet with the first-year students one-on-one until Oct. 15, and that is due to [National Association for Law Placement] guidelines. Every ABA-accredited law school follows that same timeline, because our 1Ls are supposed to be focusing on assimilating to law school, study habits, learning to brief cases and things like that.

Q: What else should new students expect in terms of developing their career interests and starting the job search?

Katie: One thing we encourage, particularly in the first semester and certainly in the second semester, is for first-year students to explore the educational programming throughout the law school. . . . For instance, if I want to do public interest this summer, I should definitely be at the PILF summer internship program; I want to do judicial, I should be at that. The other thing first-year students do is once they’ve had their initial counsel appointment, gone over what they’re interested in in terms of location and maybe type of position, and reviewed their materials, they should touch base again during the semester. Do they have more polished versions of their resumes now that I’ve made critiques? Do they need me to review their cover letters now that Sarka has gone over how to write one? . . . Once holiday break comes, that’s when we really suggest they get their job search in gear, after focusing on their studies and finals.

Sarka: Over holiday break, first-year students absolutely need to conduct five informational interviews, which we try to prepare them for. Additionally, they are lucky that in the South, there’s a tradition of law firms hosting holiday parties they can attend. Also, some of the bar associations have events, and they should really try to go to at least one of those.

Katie: One of the beauties of being a first-year student is there are a lot of opportunities during school to learn, enrich themselves, develop interests and network, and there are also a lot of opportunities to intern in the summer. It’s very rare that a 1L can’t find a summer internship. . . . There are so many opportunities, and they’re not under the pressure that maybe upperclassmen are to pick something similar to what they plan to do post-grad. They have a lot of latitude to just try things out, which is great.

Coffee with the CDO

Students chat with the CDO’s Pat Guzman-Weema and Sarka Cerna-Fagan over breakfast.

Q: Can first-year students expect any other professional guidance or mentoring?

Sarka: I think the school realizes how difficult the job search can be, so we are trying to give each student like a little village — “it takes a village to raise a child”— surrounding each student with several mentors. For the next incoming class, all students will be matched with alumni mentors when they are admitted. Right now, each first-year student already gets a student mentor, faculty mentor and an assigned career counselor. Once they go through first year and have a better idea of what they want to do, they will be matched with a secondary counselor and, if necessary, a secondary faculty mentor.

Katie: And they can, at any point, receive an additional alumni mentor from us. The plan is that they’ll all be matched with an alumni mentor during the admissions process, but if a student, no matter the year, comes into our office and says, “I’m interested in working in this field or this city, and I want to talk to someone in that arena,” we’ll always put them in touch, to the best of our capabilities, with someone who may practice in that area or live in that market. . . . I think it’s the same thing with student organizations, and 1Ls should take advantage of those opportunities to get additional mentors.

Sarka: Many times, a third-year student can tell a first-year student, “This is what I did for my first summer. Do you want me to call my former boss, tell him about you and put you in touch?” That should be happening more often than it does.

Q: How do you work with incoming students who just aren’t sure what they want to do?

Katie: It happens all the time, and I actually think it’s a good thing, because they’re more open to opportunities. If a student really is not sure what he or she wants to do, we try to promote internships that may be a little more general in nature, where we think the student will get practical, concrete legal skills. Also, students like that may feel anxious about the fact that they don’t know what they want to do, and maybe their classmates are very focused. Part of it is just reassuring them it’s really not a big deal and the whole point of the first summer is to explore.

Student summer work reflections: Part two

In our second installment on summer jobs, 2L students share accounts of their work in environmental law, maritime law and college sports compliance.

Jae Sung Shrader (L ’16)

Jae Sung Shrader (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Jae Sung Shrader, pictured with Kevin Koskovich (both L ’16) at Tulane’s Summit on Environmental Law & Policy, worked on the largest environmental settlement in history at the EPA.

Environmental settlement clean-up:
Jae Sung Shrader interned with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 4 office in Atlanta, tackling issues involved in the largest settlement in environmental law history: a $5.15 billion agreement between the EPA and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation originally related to fraudulent asset conveyance claims.

The parties announced the settlement in April, and the EPA created a multistate environmental response trust to manage the funds, Shrader said. After creating the trust, the EPA evaluated how its policies, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Superfund, were implicated in the settlement.

“This is where my science background came in handy,” Shrader said. “Having already taken environmental sciences, organic chemistry, geology and other courses, being able to identify issues on the fly during conferences with the Department of Justice, various attorneys and consulting scientists was invaluable. When briefs and memoranda needed to be edited, it was easy for me to go through them without tripping on the scientific jargon.”

“After the large litigation was done, the next stage was to figure out the exact percentages that were going to sites around the nation from the trust,” she said. “We focused on the sites in our region, which manages the Southeast – Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and the Carolinas.”

As a legal intern, Shrader worked closely with EPA officials on the settlement administration. “My mentor always tried to include me when he could: Editing DOJ documents, getting my opinion on certain outcomes, bringing me to every meeting with different attorneys and scientists, listening to my questions and incorporating my suggestions into his work,” Shrader said. “It was such a good experience to be in the middle of the process and helping when I could.”

Environmental issues are Shrader’s longtime passion, she said. Before law school, she chaired the Energy and Conservation Organization at the University of Miami, where she managed a $100,000 budget to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. She earned a dual degree from Miami in biological sciences and environmental law and policy.

Shrader spent the second half of her summer working in the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, focusing on clean air issues. During the school year, she is actively involved in planning the Energy and Environmental Law Summit.

Jeffrey Notarianni (L ’16)

Jeffrey Notarianni (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Jeffrey Notarianni (L ’15, third row, third from left) participated in Tulane’s study abroad program in Rhodes, Greece before interning with the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy.

Navigating the law of the sea: Jeffrey Notarianni completed an externship coordinating the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, an international maritime course for attorneys and scholars.

“I had an incredibly interesting summer externship in Greece. While there, I met diplomats, international judges and very high-powered people from around the world,” said Notarianni, who helped prepare and run the three-week program.

“The participants were either attorneys (JDs, or their country’s equivalent) or academics (PhDs), and about 70 percent of them were Permanent Mission to the U.N. or Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their country,” he said. “I’d visit with all of these powerful people, casually drinking coffee with them over breakfast in the morning or having dinner with them at night.”

Notarianni also got to observe a meeting between the Prime Minister of Greece and President of China in his office courtyard and watch the World Cup with Academy students who collectively rooted for all 32 teams.

“Another great thing about working for the Rhodes Academy was that the courses focused on cases that were being litigated in real time,” Notarianni said. “One attorney lectured on maritime delimitation, and he also happened to be the head attorney in the delimitation litigation between Bangladesh and India. Around the time of his lecture, the U.N. arbitration tribunal issued its ruling in his side’s favor. It was great to see him win the case while he was lecturing on the same subject.”

Before the externship, Notarianni took classes in Tulane’s Rhodes summer study abroad program. He learned about the Rhodes Academy opportunity through Professor Günther Handl, who organized two law student positions there this year.

Notarianni, who is working toward a maritime law certificate, said he aimed to practice in that field long before starting at Tulane. During one summer, he crewed a tall ship from Erie, Pennsylvania, and he has been interested in the industry since.

Ben Trachman (L ‘16)

Ben Trachman (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Ben Trachman (L ’15) studies in the law school courtyard after finishing a shift working in Tulane’s athletics compliance office.

Playing the college sports field:
Ben Trachman, a Tulane sports law student, completed an externship with
the NCAA’s enforcement team in Indianapolis, helping to make sure regional college teams complied with regulations.

“As an extern, I received and reviewed self-reported NCAA bylaw violations of institutions and conferences,” Trachman said. “I had an opportunity to use the legislative database (LSDBi) to ensure correct bylaw citation and that proper penalties were imposed by the institution. I also corresponded with institutional contacts regarding the NCAA’s stance on reported secondary violations.”

Trachman also helped police scouting and recruiting of high school athletes. “During my time with the NCAA, I was able to attend various basketball certification events throughout Indiana and ensure that there were no recruiting violations by college coaches of top high school prospects,” he said.

Trachman found the job online through Tulane’s Career Resources Interactive System. He learned more about the position through other Tulane alumni who have worked with NCAA, including Renee Gomila (L ‘00), an associate director of enforcement.

Trachman, a University of Michigan graduate, said he chose Tulane for the sports law program. He’s working toward a sports law certificate, is a junior member of The Sports Lawyers Journal and has worked in Tulane’s athletics compliance office the past two years.

Student summer work reflections: Part one

How did you spend your summer? We’re highlighting six Tulane Law students who gained valuable work experience in environmental and energy, maritime, international and sports law. In our first installment, learn what students in their 3L year did on the job, how they landed these opportunities and what their post-summer plans hold.

Gillian Saltz (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Gillian Saltz sported a hard hat while touring a Valero refinery during her internship. (Photo courtesy of Gillian Saltz.)

Gillian Saltz (L ’15)

Exploring in-house oil & gas law: Gillian Saltz interned at Valero Energy Corp., a top 10 Fortune 500 company, working alongside in-house counsel at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.

Her internship exposed her to the variety of legal issues faced by energy companies. “I helped draft contracts, completed research projects for litigation, regulatory and labor and employment lawyers, and learned more about the actual business side of operating refineries,” Saltz said.

“They also took us to see a refinery, probably the highlight of my summer, especially since I got to keep my hard hat.”

Saltz also saw first-hand what it’s like to work in a major corporation. “They had a huge intern symposium for all their interns across the company, many of whom were engineer undergrads, where the CEO and many vice presidents came to talk to us about professional development, joining the workforce, and the future of Valero. It was a pretty extensive event spanning three days,” she said.

After her experience at Valero, Saltz plans to specialize in oil and gas law. “There are a lot of opportunities for growth, and it is a fascinating area of law,” she said. She also hopes to return to in-house practice later in her career.

At Tulane, Saltz works as a student attorney in the Civil Litigation Clinic and is senior articles editor of the Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law. She’s a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Janet Kearney (L ’15)

Janet Kearney (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Janet Kearney toured the Northern Irish coastline on a weekend trip during her summer at the U.S. Consulate in Belfast. (Photo courtesy of Janet Kearney.)

Mastering international diplomacy: Janet Kearney interned for the U.S. Consulate in Belfast, Northern Ireland, an operation with five American Foreign Service officers and 20 locally-hired staff where she was able to work closely with officials.

“I was able to perform a range of tasks because the internship though the Department of State is not solely legal,” Kearney said.

Her work included legal, historical and policy research and writing, plus compiling daily news summaries. “I did a little bit of everything, from filing and helping organize events to detailed research and writing projects and meetings with the consul general and government officials. The writing projects focused primarily on issues specific to Northern Ireland, like their unique shared governance institutions and the legacy of the Troubles,” she said.

“I really had a wonderful time there; the work was interesting and varied, and everyone was so friendly. Plus Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited,” she said. She also explored the region, attending a charity event uniting children from Protestant and Catholic backgrounds to play sports together, traveling to the Northern Ireland coast and adventuring in Dublin.

Kearney landed her job through the U.S. Department of State’s student internship program, which hires students each semester. She is senior research editor for the Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law and former president of the Law Women’s Association. Before law school, she worked as a legislative aide for Jefferson Parish while earning her B.A. at LSU.

Jonathan Jordan (L ’15)

Jonathan Jordan (L '15) | Tulane Law School

Jonathan Jordan interned with the Washington Wizards, handling the NBA draft preparation, execution, and aftermath.

Shooting hoops with the NBA: Jonathan Jordan, a former high school basketball coach and college hoops player, interned with the Washington Wizards in Basketball Operations. He landed the position by seizing an opportunity to meet the Wizards president at an NBA All-Star Game event in New Orleans.

“Last year, I worked for Stephen Howard, who does color commentary for ESPN College Basketball and is a studio analyst for the Pelicans,” said Jordan, who found that position through Tulane’s Career Resources Interactive System. “I also worked for a former NBA player researching intellectual property rights through the Tulane-NBRPA program that Professor (Gabe) Feldman started. These internships gave me the opportunity to attend the Legends Brunch during the NBA All-Star Game. At the brunch, I saw Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, and I had to introduce myself because I am from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. After the brief conversation, he told me to send him my resume. I then had a phone interview with his executive assistant, and I landed my dream internship.”

While working for the Wizards, Jordan was instrumental in helping team officials evaluate prospective players before the NBA draft. “In preparation for the NBA draft, the Wizards, like all teams, had workouts. I was responsible for researching and compiling college and overseas statistics of all the prospects,” he said. “I also helped create the binders that Mr. Grunfeld and the rest of the front office used on Draft Night.”

Draft day proved to be the busiest, Jordan said. “On the day of the draft, I configured and disassembled the Wizards’ ‘war room.’ Basically, I set up all of the different draft boards they maintained throughout the draft, which you might see on TV when they show the team’s war room after a selection is made.”

But the work didn’t end there. “After the draft was over, I was responsible for continuously updating the depth chart boards when signings were announced for all 30 teams,” he said. “Lastly, after free agency calmed down in August, I updated the Wizards’ list of agent contact information. I was calling and speaking to agents, some being lawyers, to make sure the Wizards had their proper phone numbers and emails for the future.”

Jordan also completed the sports law track at the Great Lakes Sports & Entertainment Law Academy during the summer. He is a member of the Sports Law Society and The Sports Lawyer’s Journal and plans to earn a Tulane sports law certificate.