Dawud Crooms was a derivatives risk management analyst with JPMorgan Chase before entering law school. He enjoyed his job, but it's the type of work, he said, that is limited to certain markets. Crooms and his wife wanted to leave New York for a less expensive city in which to raise their young child, so upon the advice of close family and mentors, Crooms pursued law as a means of broadening his career options.
Though he had an idea that he would focus on transactional-related law, "What I didn't want to do was spend three years in law school and get right back into something that had a narrow scope and was done in a handful of markets," the New Jersey native said. "I knew I wanted to get into transactional work, but I didn't want to get into things I had done before that were pretty narrow."
What He's Doing Now
Crooms joined 7-Eleven as senior counsel in June 2015. After earning his JD in December 2009, he began working as an associate in the Corporate/Securities Group at Haynes and Boone, LLP in Dallas. His practice focused on capital markets transactions, public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, securities acts compliance, and derivatives.
"One of the main reasons I picked my firm is that it was large enough that I got to do complex, high-dollar transctions," he said. "But, because they are a mid-size firm, I got an opportunity to be the lead associate on deals with both middle-market and Fortune 500 companies. We worked with smaller teams, so I got to see a larger part of the deals."
The Impact of the Darrow Scholarship
Being a Darrow Scholar, Crooms said, afforded him more flexibility and freedom to think about his career opportunities. "The Darrow Scholarship gives you the opportunity to think outside the box. I knew I wanted to go to a firm, and the way the Darrow helped me, is that it gave me the opportunity to evaluate firms without having to focus solely on the projected three-year total compensation. Money wasn't my number-one concern, so I was able to find a firm that fit my family and my practice desires."
Why Michigan Law?
Haynes and Boone has a collegial atmosphere in which teamwork is valued—attributes that were important to Crooms when he was looking at law schools. "Being a lawyer wasn't my lifelong passion or desire, so I was pretty cautious about which law schools I wanted to attend. There's a short list of schools that are highly regarded and known to be collegial places, where you can get a good education, meet good people, and not fight tooth and nail with your classmates."
Michigan, he said, lived up to its reputation of being a collegial environment. "People were open to helping each other, because there was an understanding that you doing well was not to the detriment of someone else's future prospects," he said.
Indeed, Crooms, whose family grew to include a second child at the end of his 1L year, experienced that helpfulness from professors, in particular, who allowed him to bring his youngest to class when there were scheduling conflicts.
"Michigan was great for me and my family," he said. "The atmosphere allowed me to raise my family, do well academically, and enjoy the experience. While there aren't as many Michigan grads here in Texas as there are in other places, there is a solid network here. The Michigan degree is well-respected, and has done me well."
Story written by Lori Atherton.
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