WilmerHale Hosts Career Day for Bronx Lab Students

April 11, 2013

On March 22nd, WilmerHale's New York office hosted a career day for students from the Bronx Lab School. Eight high school students spent the day touring the office, speaking to attorneys and staff about career options, and even playing a little ping-pong.

WilmerHale works with Bronx Lab—a New York City public school—through Volunteers of Legal Service. Firm lawyers have provided pro bono legal advice on immigration and other issues to students at the school and their families. However, getting the word out to students that help is available has been a challenge.

“We’re in the process of trying to increase our visibility in the school,” says Associate Caitlin Mandel, who organized the career day with Practice Manager Amy Szydlo. “A lot of students don’t reach out to us early enough for us to help them before they graduate, which is especially important for students dealing with immigration issues.”

At the suggestion of Bronx Lab’s principal, Mandel and Szydlo organized a career day for students at the firm’s downtown office. After a tour of the space, several attorneys and staff—including Partner Peter Vigeland, Senior Associate Nikki Feit, Associates Larkin Reynolds and Allison Reid, and Project Assistant Hannah Perlman—sat down for an informal panel discussion touching on how they got to where they are now, and how the interests they developed in high school led them to their current positions. The discussion was followed by a pizza lunch, during which the students asked questions, and a chance to enjoy the office’s ping-pong room.

“They were a really well-spoken group of kids, and very honest as teenagers often are,” says Mandel, who formerly taught high school history. “They were hesitant to talk to us at first—one said he felt intimidated talking to ‘really important people’—but after a while, they opened up and shared their interests and hopes for their own futures. One wants to be a corporate lawyer, and I think he’s already getting his application ready to apply to WilmerHale in a few years.”

Plans are underway for another group of students from Bronx Lab to visit the firm in May. The group is interested in environmentalism, and plans to check out the office’s green technology and speak to several attorneys in the Environmental Practice. Mandel hopes that the success of March’s career day can be replicated, and that more opportunities can be made available for students to get to know the firm’s attorneys and staff.

“The career day gave us an opportunity to pitch our program to the students, and hopefully they brought that information back to their peers,” says Mandel. “It was also a nice opportunity to reflect on why I’m here and how lucky I am to be here. They were justa really bright group of kids; I was happy to sitdown and talk to them and hopefully have a little bit of an impact on where they go in the future.”