As a junior associate who was unfortunately a target of the COVID-19 outbreak era, I onboarded my current firm, Winston & Strawn, in an unconventional way. My summer associate program was reduced to four weeks of remote programming in 2020, which did not provide the same networking opportunities as if the program had been in-person. Thus, I realized outright that I needed to be proactive to garner the attention of my superiors, who were also adapting to the changing working environment.
When I joined full-time in fall 2021 as a corporate junior associate in New York, the legal industry embraced a hybrid work format in which internal calls and one-on-one engagements were still generally conducted remotely. This implied that a lot of my working hours were spent online on the computer, either at home or in my office behind closed doors. Having had the time and opportunity to adapt to a remote working environment during my third year of law school, I proactively researched and virtually reached out to partners and associates who practiced within my career interests.
I was delighted to find that the firm had a video gaming practice, although most of the work was conducted in litigation. I reached out to the head partner, who practiced IP litigation in Los Angeles; although a different office and practice altogether, we were quickly able to touch base on my past experiences working in the video gaming and technology industries. I started drafting articles right away for The Play Book, the firm’s dedicated blog to topics including video games, esports, and more.
I really enjoyed writing blog articles because I was not only actively contributing to the firm’s marketing and promotions, but I was also building my own brand as a lawyer. Once my blog article draft was proofread by a partner, it was published on the blog, which would be circulated both internally and externally via social media. As a huge proponent of LinkedIn and an active user, I shared my work and commented on how the issues I had mentioned were notable from both legal and business perspectives.
During early 2022, my articles on the intersection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and gaming generated top traction and led to many inbound client calls from gaming, cryptocurrency, and Web3 sectors with which our interdisciplinary team consulted. Furthermore, I was able to network with many other relevant professionals online as well as touch base with classmates who were also interested in the work we were doing. Within the first six months of working full-time at the firm, I even attended a networking business trip to the 2022 SXSW Conference held in Austin, Texas.
I believe that as a junior associate, one should embrace all opportunities to succeed and be creative. While my current day-to-day practice has shifted more towards the M&A and finance work and the partner has since departed for another firm, I still try to engage in blog writing as much as possible. I have contributed to pieces on securities litigation and intellectual property, while still maintaining my personal brand on LinkedIn by frequently commenting and sharing articles. I am hope that my experience in the first year balancing both internal and external branding for both the firm and my own pursuits will prepare me for the next years in BigLaw.
Written by Wooseok Ki, Associate Winston & Strawn, LLP