Women’s Leadership Network and Career Development Center Host Panel on Navigating Career Paths

On April 6, the Alumni Association’s Women’s Leadership Network and The Career Development Center co-hosted “Celebrating the Circuitous Career Path,” a panel discussion on navigating and advancing careers, from law school to first job and beyond, on a path that often branches in unexpected directions. Moderated by Dina Adler, Associate Director of the Career Development Center, the panel of alumni in the private and public sectors discussed their own careers and offered wide-ranging advice to students and alumni on the steps they can take on that path to discover the work that will make them most fulfilled. Panelists included Gaddi Goren ’11, partner at Turek Roth Grossman LLP; Danielle Moss ’11, partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Christina Rhode ’18, Senior Attorney, Legal Collections in the Legal Department of the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF); and Andrew Tran ’11, Senior Commercial Counsel for LinkedIn. 
“The straight-line career is more the exception than the norm,” said Dean Michael Cahill in his welcoming remarks. “As lawyers, you’re going to have long careers, so if you don’t get your dream job in the early years, you have decades to get it.” Added Adler, “Students may think the expected path is what you’re supposed to do. But there is so much to do to develop your career.” 
The panelists, all of whom have changed jobs one or more times since graduating from the Law School, emphasized how each position develops skills and interests that can lead to the next and helps refine where an individual’s talents and passion lie. Andrew Tran, for example, spoke of having six jobs in 10 years, moving from positions with the New York City Law Department to a law firm to the New York State Department of Education to in-house counsel for WeWork and to his present position at LinkedIn. “Before moving to an in-house counsel position, I developed new skill sets by working in government, which is very open to that development,” he said. Likewise, Moss, who currently specializes in labor and employment litigation, spoke of starting out as a Felony Assistant District Attorney at the Kings County D.A.’s Office, where her successful track record led her to being recruited into private practice.
The importance of involvement and continued connection during law school through student organizations, internships, and clinical work, as well as through each job, was stressed by all. “Through the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic, I got such a variety of experience, from meeting with clients to writing briefs,” said Rhode. “Those relationships and those with professors are integral to your future.” Said Goren, “Our world is a small world, and you see the same faces. Keeping your network open and staying in touch can lead to new relationships and new business.” Informational interviews, too, said Moss, can be helpful if the outreach is personal, showing you have done due diligence on the person you’re asking to meet and what their practice is about.
Perhaps, the panelists said, the most important keys to success are hard work, being proactive in letting those you work with know what opportunities you wish to cultivate, and perseverance, even when you don’t get that internship, that job, that assignment. “Don’t be discouraged by ‘no’,” Moss said. “That can actually lead you to where you are supposed to be.” Added Tran, “Your first, second, or third jobs might not be where you want to be. Just keep going.