Why I Chose to do “Tech Law”

This was by no means a straight path for me. In fact, I made this decision because my experience in law school was, tumultuous to say the least.
I went to law school with these big dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer and hoping that I would do amazing and finish somewhere at the top of the class. Little did I know that I was surrounded by some of the smartest people I had ever met. Not only that, but coming from a liberal arts education where all my professors held my hand, did not make it any easier. I arrived at law school and I discovered I did not know how to take exams and had terrible testing anxiety. This is no good in law school because your grades depend on one exam.

Anyways, I went into my first year exams and did alright, but not as good as I had once thought I would do. So there I was filled with anxiety that I would never find a job and seriously regretting my decision to come to law school. Side note: if you have not yet gotten to law school you will find that everyone around you makes you believe that if you are not at the top of the class you will never get anywhere. This is not true, especially if you are at a higher ranked school.

So, I forced myself to study harder and stop the excessive drinking on the weekends and just hunker down (law students love to party). Well, the same thing happened the next semester. Now, looking back I think that my number one problem is that I truly did not know how to effectively study and I was too lazy to learn, or maybe stubborn. So, do yourself a favor and build some good study habits because it will be helpful in law school. Also, force yourself to question everything and while you’re at it get some good outlines… the key to law school.

But even with my semi ok grades I found a first-year job at a major corporate company. Call me crazy, but I love working in corporate companies, especially the tech onse. Before coming to law school I had worked at two other major tech corporations. And there began my love-affair for business. Now you ask, why didn’t you go to business school? That is a great question, one I really do not have an answer to. But, now looking back I think going to law school will give me an edge in the business world.

Why did I love working in these environments so much? Well, in college I pursued a secondary degree in computer science, which allowed me to speak the same language as many of the tech people running these companies in the background. Not only was I able to speak there language, but I also learned to speak the business language fairly quick too. So, when I realized being a top student in law school was just not going to work, I turned to my comfort zones, business and tech.

I started doing extensive research on the issues that the legal field would soon have to deal with, due to the increase in technology. There was blockchain, data privacy, AI, and tons of other new things the legal field had no idea how to deal with. Further, all this new technology is promising to forever change the way in which we will practice law. I saw this as an opportunity to become the “the best,” or at least different at something that no one in law school was really paying attention to.

I went into all my interviews with a pitch about technology and my love for that field. I won’t lie, it was hit or miss, especially in the city I was trying to find a job in. Some firms simply could not look past my grades, they just wanted top 10 and others were very interested. So, I focused on the firms that wanted someone like me. Keep in mind that when you are trying to sell this new type of interest you have to think like an entrepreneur. There are firms out there that value that and are actively looking for that. In fact, many firms out there would rather higher someone with work experience for that reason exactly. Those firms want people who know about business and understand how to make money, which is something you usually learn in the real world. Eventually, I found a firm that wanted someone that thought outside the box, especially because the firm was looking to differentiate themselves. There I will be able to do tech law and explore all different fields. So, my story is not a straight path and came about out of necessity, but I think that this story could resonate with some.

Actionable things you can do:

  • Get certified in data privacy: It is called an IAPP certification.
  • Learn everything you need to know about how blockchain works or AI. IBM has tons of resources to help you learn. Comment down below if you need more reading cause I can point you in the right direction.
  • Find firms that have practice groups in the tech fields you are interested in.
  • If your law school has any tech-related talks… go to them.
  • Find law firms that are innovative and business minded.
  • Get internships in tech companies.
  • Not as important, but learn to code or find a way to learn more about computer science. Knowing the tech behind all of these new technologies is crucial.

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