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EIW Careers Series
Social Impact: Careers In and Out of Big Law

Aug. 5, 2014

Michigan Law graduates enter a wide range of professions, but the starting point for many—more than half of all recent classes—is a firm. Others begin with public interest jobs, clerkships, government agency positions, or other areas. Honing their skills and further diversifying their interests, they go on to build careers in a variety of different fields, some of which are highlighted here. Read their stories as you consider your career path in advance of Early Interview Week (EIW), when 575 offices of top firms and agencies will be on campus Aug. 7-8 and 11-12, 2014​ to conduct around 5,000 interviews among rising 2Ls and 3Ls.

Katy Locker, '02: Formerly an associate at a corporate and securities law firm in California, Katy Locker currently serves as the Detroit program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In this role she focuses specifically on community engagement and providing grants for opportunities that "bring vibrancy to Detroit and enhance its quality of life." Full Story

Ilann Maazel, '97: Ilann Maazel is a partner at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, where he has a diverse trial and appellate practice specializing in high-profile civil rights and class action litigation. "Civil rights cases like Pine Bush [T.E. v. Pine Bush Central School District, which dealt with allegations of anti-Semitic discrimination, harassment, and bullying] can have enormous social impact. I feel fortunate to do this work." Full Story

Chris Mansour, '98: Chris Mansour started her legal career in private practice, with a focus on commercial litigation, intellectual property disputes, and appeals. She now fights for systemic change in the areas of human rights and immigration law as the legal director for the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas (HRI). "I wanted the solid training that a firm can provide," Mansour says, "so that I could go anywhere feeling like I had been really challenged and made into a better lawyer." Full Story

Gare Smith, '83: The chair of the corporate responsibility practice at Foley Hoag, LLP, Gare Smith provides counsel on compliance programs to address labor conditions, community relations, security, indigenous rights, environmental stewardship, and the rule of law. "In addition to obtaining a legal license to operate, I help clients secure a social license to operate," Smith says. Full Story

Carl Valenstein, '83: Carl Valenstein is co-managing partner of Bingham’s Washington, D.C., office, and an adjunct professor in Michigan Law's International Transactions Clinic​ (ITC). As an ITC supervising attorney, Valenstein oversaw a groundbreaking Habitat for Humanity deal that established MicroBuild, a microfinancing fund for people in developing countries that's designed to help low-income families improve and maintain their homes, or even build new ones. "I think I have pro bono work in my DNA," Valenstein says. "But I'm a deal lawyer, and it seems so many pro bono opportunities are for litigators. So when I found this microfinance space, it became clear that this is something a transaction lawyer can do to give back." Full Story

Also read about alumni whose careers center on sports and entertainment and entrepreneurship.

Visit the Office of Career Planning website for more information on EIW, one-on-one counseling opportunities, resume review, and other services available to Michigan Law students and alumni.

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