Lawyers: Maximizing Your Mobility

timon-studler-63413-unsplashGuest Post by: Inti Knapp

As legal recruiters, we work closely with employers to fulfill their lateral attorney hiring needs. Without exception, when legal industry employers describe their ideal candidate to us, they specify the following three criteria:

Level of Experience
In the legal job market, it’s possible to have “too much” experience because more job opportunities exist for junior to midlevel attorneys. That’s because most law firms and corporate legal departments have a pyramid structure, with more attorneys at junior levels reporting to fewer senior attorneys at the top.

For example, if you are a law firm associate wanting to move to a different law firm, the easiest time is when you have 2-6 years of legal experience. Once you have 7+ years of experience, law firms have fewer lateral openings at your level, unless you have a book of portable business.

If you are an attorney wanting to move in-house, most openings are at the corporate counsel/senior corporate counsel level, requiring typically a range of 5 – 15 years’ legal experience. Of course, attorneys with even more years of experience make moves in house, but often they are surprised they have fewer opportunities than earlier in their career.

Practice Area
Depending on the economy, some practice areas are more marketable than others (for example, in a booming economy, transactional work like M&A and IP licensing is busier than bankruptcy or litigation). After you have practiced law for a couple of years, you can market your experience to law firms that need a lateral attorney hire to hit the ground running with minimal training. If you want to change law firms, you’ll get more traction when your practice area is in demand, so don’t delay a job search even if you’re buried in work.

Consider also whether you want to go in-house, because certain practice areas are more attractive to in house legal departments. If you have the ability to choose your practice area, and want to go in house someday, be aware there are more in-house openings for transactional attorneys than litigators. Although lawyers of all specialties go in house, attorneys with desired areas of expertise—such as corporate or tech transactions—typically enjoy more opportunities to join startups and corporate legal departments.

For better or worse, the legal industry is credentials conscious. Law firms and corporate legal departments ask us to present candidates from “top” law schools, with “top” grades, or from “top” law firms, as defined by that particular employer. As attorneys get more senior, law school pedigree becomes less important as law firms focus more on whether a candidate brings portable business, or whether the attorney has good training in a high-demand specialty.


If you are considering law school, or a current law student, consider how your choice of law school and practice area may impact your future job prospects—attorneys rarely stay at one employer their entire career. If you are a practicing lawyer who wants to change employers, be alert to your best windows of opportunity in terms of your experience level, practice area, and local economy. With strategy and forethought, attorneys can maximize their opportunities to make a fulfilling lateral move.

Inti Knapp (F’95) is Managing Director at Harris Legal Search in Seattle. Her search firm has placed hundreds of attorneys nationwide, including general counsel and in-house counsel at companies, and partners and associates at law firms. Inti has shared her legal recruiting expertise as a published author and speaker, presenting to law schools such as the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, and the University of Washington School of Law, and professional organizations including the Association of Corporate Counsel. Prior to becoming a legal recruiter in 2004, Inti earned her B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, and practiced litigation at Perkins Coie. She lives in Seattle with her husband, John Knapp (F’93, L’97), and two young children.


Speaking Tips: Last Things First

Guest Post by: Dean Brenner (C’91), The Latimer Group

Have you ever led a meeting, handed out the slide deck, began discussing the topic and while still on slide 1 or 2, most of your audience has already flipped to the last slide? I’m sure you’ve seen this before… Perhaps you’ve been the one flipping to the last slide, or perhaps you were the frustrated presenter. It happens all the time.

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is, “How do I prevent people from automatically skipping to the last slide?”

I usually respond by asking, “Why do you think they go there first?”

Everyone usually says some version of, “They want to see the summary information right away.”

And then I usually say, “Then if they want to see the last slide first, why do you put all that info on the last slide? Why make them wait?”

Business storytelling is counter-intuitive. This is not like a movie or a good book. The point is not to keep your audience in suspense until the very end. The point with business communication, especially in the 21st century, is to get to the point quickly, explain to people where you are taking them, and then backtrack just enough to explain to them how you got there.

Don’t make your audience wait. It will be better for them, and they’ll pay closer attention to what you have to say.

Good luck.

Dean Brenner (C’91) is a recognized expert in persuasive communication, and is the founder and president of The Latimer Group, an executive coaching and training firm that that specializes in creating powerful communication skills. Dean and his colleagues offer coaching and training to a global client list of Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Dean has written two books on effective communication, and is currently working on his third. Dean lives in Connecticut with his family. To learn more about Dean and The Latimer Group, please visit



From Surviving to Thriving

Guest Post by: Linda Hardenstein

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, but I do know this isn’t it.”

It’s frustrating to be unsure about your career path, or to be unhappy at work. Especially when you have talent, knowledge, skills, and abilities to contribute.

“Making it Work” Doesn’t Work

Being miserable in your career causes stress and burn out. It can have a profound, negative effect on your health, your relationships, and your wellbeing.  I found that out the hard way when exhausted, overworked, and burned out, I fell down a flight of stairs on the way to a business meeting. I heard my neck crack and wondered if I’d ever walk again. The emergency room brought a stark reality into focus – I was miserable. I had no life. It was time to stop tolerating unhappiness and start living!

How did I go from just surviving to thriving in my career? Here’s 5 steps I took, and you can too:

  1. Decide. There is great power in letting go of what is no longer benefitting you. Deciding to release what’s in your way opens the door for what’s next to show up.

“Everyone has been called for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in his or her heart.” – Rumi

  1. Find Your Purpose. Each of us is born with a distinct set of talents and gifts with a special role to play and a unique contribution to make. Knowing your purpose shows where you fit. It helps you understand where you don’t. One of the quickest and easiest ways to discover your purpose is with the unbiased guidance and support of a career coach.
  2. Align With What You Were Born to Do. You can’t help but live out your unique design. The problem arises when you’re doing what you are designed to do in a job, or a place, that doesn’t resonate with who you are. If you’re at odds with something — a boss, a co-worker, your company’s mission, work that takes away from living the life you really want, or a lack of recognition for what you contribute — you’re out of alignment with who you are. Doing work that is in alignment with who you are, brings ease, joy, a sense of meaning and accomplishment.
  3. Be Open. Giving up what you think you “should do,” or going against what a well-meaning parent or teacher told you to do, isn’t easy. For fulfillment, meaning, and motivation, let go of who you thought you should be. Be who you are.
  4. Take Action. Once you’re clear that it’s time to find the right job, synergies and opportunities will line up to support your intention to fulfill your purpose. Inspired action will lead you to the next step and the next one. Before you know it, you’ll be thriving in your job and life because you’re doing what you were born to do.

Linda Hardenstein, MPA, PCC, coaches professionals to find their purpose and authentic careers to have more meaningful lives. Contact her at

© Linda Hardenstein, 2018


Guest Post by: Yolanda Gruendel, GUAA Coaching Partner

Every so often, my eye catches the paperweight on my desk.  It reads, “you can do anything but not everything.” It was given to me by a friend and fellow graduate of the Law Center a few years ago.  When she gave it to me, she confided that she had purchased one for herself. We laughed. Two peas.

On one level, we know we cannot do everything.  We simply do not have the time. And yet, we behave as if we could.  We gauge success by whether we are able to cram everything into our days and feel overwhelmed when we can’t.

Not being able to get to everything necessarily means that on any given day, we are procrastinating.  To focus on some things, we delay or delete others. It is not a matter of whether we procrastinate. The only question is whether we procrastinate absentmindedly or deliberately.  Those of us who procrastinate absentmindedly tend to value all activities equally and focus on the immediate. Whatever event or distraction captures our attention hijacks our time and energy as well.  When that activity is over, we dedicate the time we have left to our remaining commitments or never bother to circle back to them.

Other people procrastinate more deliberately.  They know the to-do list never ends so they sequence activities based on their relative importance.  They resist getting carried away by unexpected events. They keep their focus on the vitally few important activities that matter most, and they put off, outsource, delegate, or eliminate altogether the other tasks.

It is a relief when you finally accept that you cannot do everything.  I always knew it, but at the moment of choice, often opted to take on more.  I wasn’t trying to do everything, just this one additional thing. My commitments mushroomed.   The realization that something needed to change forced a critical internal conversation about what mattered most to me and which activities contributed or detracted from these priorities.  I try to maintain my attention and energy these days where it matters most and measure each activity or commitment accordingly. As for the rest, well, I’ll get to it later.

Hoya Blogga!

Hi Hoyas! We’re expanding our social media footprint and starting a blog, bringing you another way to connect with and benefit from Georgetown Alumni Career Services.

You may remember our CASE award-winning blog from a few years ago…think of this as a revamp of that blog. Our ACS blog will be a space for career related ideas, thoughts, resources and opinions from fellow alumni, certified coaches, Hoya Friends, and the Alumni Career Services staff.  We’ll discuss and reflect on career tips and hacks, industry trends, current career issues, articles, and resources. Read along to get to know us and the world of Georgetown Alumni Career Services!

Stay tuned!

Meet Taylor, the Communicator

This fall, the University launched “Georgetown Stories,” a multi-media, first-person, “vlog” (video blog) that will follow 11 undergraduate students throughout the academic year as their Georgetown stories unfold.  Each student’s story will be told through a series of videos, still photography, emails and social media posts with the goal of more intimately connecting everyone in the Georgetown community (both on and off of the Hilltop).  In a series of blog posts this year, ACS student intern Khadijah M. Davis (N’15) will be sharing these stories through the Alumni Career Services lens.

Taylor Soergel (C’17) is a natural communicator from Pittsburgh, PA. She aspires to one day use her gift to cover breaking news stories through journalism or convey messages through work in public relations.

“I love communicating and working with others, so I think a career in public relations would be a great way to utilize that—whether through establishing and maintaining relationships with the media, a company’s shareholders, or the general public.” Taylor says, noting, “I am also an avid writer and love working with social media, which is becoming more and more important in organizations’ abilities to advertise and market their brands to the public.”

Being accepted into Georgetown is Taylor’s proudest accomplishment to date, and it was through the encouragement of mentors in high school that she decided to apply.

“Throughout high school, I had always dreamed of going to Georgetown but never thought I’d get in. I actually wasn’t going to apply because I was too scared of rejection, but my English teacher finally convinced me to give it a try. When I got my acceptance letter, I felt like all of my work throughout high school had finally paid off. It was an incredible feeling.”

Taylor says that this same English teacher, Mr. Caruso, is one of her biggest role models.

“He exudes a passion and love for learning that is truly contagious within his classroom, and he has inspired me to continue to question the world around me and to never settle—whether that means applying to reach schools, working towards my dream career, or demanding genuine, real friendships and being a solid, reliable friend in return.”

Taylor has also been fortunate to find mentors on campus, whether it is through her work with Georgetown Giving or in the classroom. “On campus, my biggest mentor is my boss, Joannah Pickett [Assistant Vice President of Annual Giving]. Joannah inspires me to think outside the box and has the amazing ability to simultaneously balance her career, her family, and her incredible sense of humor while never appearing too busy to help at a moment’s notice.”

Recognizing the importance of mentors and sponsors, Taylor hopes to find one in the field of communications. “I hope to find a mentor who is passionate about their work and holds themselves to values such as honesty and respecting and helping others,” she says. “I want to wake up each day excited to get to work and make a difference, so I want to find that in a mentor, too.”

On campus, Taylor serves as the copy editor of The Voice, Vice President of Breast Cancer Outreach and a member of both Hoya Blue and GIVES. She spends a great deal of her time outside of the classroom exploring the nation’s capital and applying for internships on Capitol Hill. With the guidance of her mentors, she hopes to make the most of her time at Georgetown.

Meet Julian de la Paz (C’15), Future Talk Show Host and Mentor

This fall, the University launched “Georgetown Stories,” a multi-media, first-person, “vlog” (video blog) that will follow 11 undergraduate students throughout the academic year as their Georgetown stories unfold.  Each student’s story will be told through a series of videos, still photography, emails and social media posts with the goal of more intimately connecting everyone in the Georgetown community (both on and off of the Hilltop).  In a series of blog posts this year, ACS student intern Khadijah M. Davis (N’15) will be sharing these stories through the Alumni Career Services lens.

Julian de la Paz (F’15) is a culture and politics major, aspiring talk show host and all around breath of fresh air from El Paso Texas.

On campus, Julian serves as a board member on the GU Program Board, co-host and producer of a radio show on WGTB and television show on GUTV and a former intern at Late Night with Seth Meyers. After getting his start in entertainment by hosting Georgetown Program Board’s Spring Fashion Show and the Mr. Georgetown Pageant for the past three years, Julian hopes to one day become a talk show host and use his platform “to entertain my audience and highlight inspirational stories that may otherwise not receive much attention.”

The Georgetown Scholarship Program

For Julian, mentorship has been a key part in his success as a student. As a member of the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP), he was provided an invaluable source of mentors, sponsors and role models within the Georgetown community. Founded in 2004, GSP provides both financial aid and programmatic support for over 1,000 students through the combined efforts of alumni, parents and friends of Georgetown who are committed to providing resources to deserving students.

“Through my involvement with the program, I have met the most wonderful people who have served as a constant source of motivation and encouragement during my time at Georgetown,” says Julian. “I immediately think of Missy Foy (C’03), the director of the program, Christine Pfeil (C’10, MBA’16), the assistant director of GSP, and Susan Walsh (C’82) and Cristina McGinniss (N’73) – two incredible alumni mentors. GSP has become a second family to me here at Georgetown, and I plan to continue my involvement with the program post-graduation as a mentor and eventual donor.”

Mentors Inside the Classroom

Mentorship is also readily available outside of the GSP. When seeking out great mentors, Julian has found that anyone, from upperclassmen to professors, can offer great advice for major life decisions.

“During my first two years at Georgetown, I always looked towards my upperclassmen mentors for advice and direction on major life decisions. They were always quick to provide assistance and direct me towards others when they didn’t have an answer to my question. In addition, I have always utilized my professors as mentors and positive role models. Inside the classroom, they are experts in their field who impart knowledge on their students, and outside the classroom, they are mentors who are always ready and willing to be of assistance.”

Being a Mentor for Others

Julian’s experience with GSP has made him adamant about being a mentor for others during his time at Georgetown. “In the same way I have found mentors who are ready and willing to provide assistance, I have always placed myself in a position to help others.” He currently serves as a GSP Achieve Advisor. Through the initiative, upperclassmen students volunteer their time to help underclassmen navigate the internship and job search with resume and cover letter review, interview preparation and career advice during weekly office hours.

Post-graduation, Julian recognizes the importance of having mentors and sponsors in the entertainment and media field. “It isn’t as clear-cut in its path as others such as law or medicine. I am going off into the unknown in pursuit of my dream, so I would love to have someone by my side to offer their guidance and wise words of wisdom.”

Learn more about Georgetown Stories at and share your own Georgetown story #georgetownstories.  

Georgetown Influences: Marianne Perez de Fransius (F’02)


From Conflict Avoider to Conflict Expert

Thinking about how I ended up as an expert in peace and conflict transformation, I realized that my time at Georgetown was pivotal. In the spring of my sophomore year, I studied abroad in Jerusalem and then worked at the Jerusalem Post over the summer. There was hope about the seemingly impending peace between Israelis and Palestinians. By the time I got back to campus in September 2000, the second intifada had started, and the news was flooded with images of bloodshed and destruction in places I’d been only a few weeks earlier. I was so overwhelmed that I literally had to stop watching or reading the news.

The following spring, I went abroad to Turkey and stayed there over the summer. We had a spring break trip to Syria and a lot of coursework on Islam and the Middle East. I was back on the Hilltop for just 2 weeks when September 11 happened. I remember the campus being eerily quiet as I walked down to Village A and seeing the smoke plumes coming off the Pentagon. The air traffic that all new arrivals notice ceased for several months. And when National Airport opened again, some of my fellow students panicked, fearing a plane was going to crash into Healey. The media was filled with a lot of Muslim bashing which directly contradicted my experience in the Middle East.

Hearing Georgetown’s twin mantras of “You are the leaders of tomorrow” and “Men and women of service to others,” yet seeing the deep crisis that not only the Georgetown community was going through, but the whole nation, pointed to a deep conflict for me. At the time, I didn’t know how to resolve it, so I decided to flee it. The climate of fear in DC and in New York (where I grew up) was palpable and I couldn’t escape it by turning off the news. To get away from it, I moved to Paris. After a couple years, I decided to get a masters degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, thinking that it could be something relevant to study.

I went into the masters program focusing on the role of the media in portraying peace and conflict and looking at big international conflicts. As a result of my work there, I was invited into the TRANSCEND network, a community of peace workers and researchers, and got the first article about Peace Journalism published in the elite journal called Journalism. This opened doors to offering trainings at the UN, to national lobbying organizations and to groups focused on the Middle East.

Fortunately I picked a program that taught a model for creating peace that is applicable at the meta, international level all the way down to the micro, intrapersonal level. Using this model, I’ve learned that instead of avoiding (or fleeing) conflicts, I can engage with them and even gain something fruitful from them. I’ve learned how to navigate dreaded conversations with ease, how to create win-win opportunities, how to monitor my media intake to stay informed without getting depressed, and so many other skills that are vital to living a balanced and meaningful life, both personally and as a world citizen of service to others. I hope you’ll join me for my upcoming webinar in which I’ll introduce you to this model.

Marianne founded Peace Is Sexy ( with a mission to redefine peace as sexy, possible, profitable and fun. Marianne has offered trainings at the UN, to national lobbying organizations and to ones that work on the conflict in the Middle East. Currently, she’s training Mozambican journalists in conflict analysis and peace journalism.