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2019 DIVERSITY DATABASE UNDERWRITER Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Why Paul, Weiss? Four associates talk about what drew them to the firm and how the firm supports their professional development.

Lissette Duran, Fifth-Year Litigation Associate

2019 Vault WWH Profiles Lissette Duran R9

I recently got elected to the Associates Committee. As one of the most senior Latino/Latina associates, I take my role of mentoring other lawyers of color very seriously. I want to take the experiences of my community and convey them to the partnership in a constructive way.

I joined Paul, Weiss as a litigation paralegal after I graduated from college. I also participated in its summer associate program during my 1L and 2L summers.  Recently, I returned from clerking for Judge Edgardo Ramos, of the Southern District of New York.

You get to choose a mentor as part of the Diversity Mentorship Program when you start at the firm. I chose someone with an entirely different background from me: Dan Toal. During my first year, Dan made sure that I was actively looking for and learning the skills I need to succeed and that I was getting exposed to a wide variety of matters. There’s such a diversity of clients here; I currently have a patent case going to trial, two ongoing sexual harassment investigations, and I recently worked on a massive litigation involving antitrust and RICO claims involving corruption in Venezuela.

Michael Colarossi, Third-Year Bankruptcy Associate

2019 Vault WWH Profiles Michael Colarossi R9

Like many law students, I wanted to go to a place where I could be proud to practice because of not only the cutting-edge work but also the ideals espoused by the firm. Firm leaders here think and talk about the importance of pro bono and are willing to commit significant resources to those efforts. Pro bono provides a great opportunity to get a ton of responsibility and client interaction right off the bat; for example, my first pro bono matter was helping the board of trustees of a small museum in Brooklyn deal with the museum’s financial distress.

The partners here care about your development. They’ve given me a lot of client responsibility very early on. I argued a motion in court early in my second year, and generally, as a bankruptcy associate, you’re often the first lawyer clients call when they have a request, a question or an idea. A significant proportion of my day is taken up with direct client interactions.

Heather Milligan, Fourth-Year Litigation Associate, Washington, D.C.

2019 Vault WWH Profiles Heather Milligan R9

When I left Nantucket Island to attend the University of Virginia School of Law, my plan was to return to the island to open my own practice.  At the end of my first year, I decided to go through the interview process, and I was immediately drawn by the mix and high quality of the work at Paul, Weiss.

The D.C. office is a smaller, more intimate setting. By the end of a summer in the office, I knew a little of everyone’s backstory. Everyone was just very welcoming – and interesting! This is a place where you can be yourself – where you can let your ‘quirks’ shine through.

I’ve been getting excellent work and opportunities here. They’re sending me all over the country on my own to take depositions. I’ve been here two years and have taken more depositions than I can count. I’m working on cutting-edge, high-stakes matters; clients come to us with uniquely challenging problems.

Hayoon Kim, Third-Year Corporate Associate

2019 Vault WWH Profiles Hayoon Kim R9

The firm offers a great training program for first-year associates that covers topics ranging from substantive legal and financial concepts to practice and process-related tips.  For instance, in one training, we discussed a junior associate’s role in a deal, including what types of tasks junior associates are expected to perform and how they are expected to perform them.  This was my first full-time job, so I found these types of trainings helpful in navigating expectations during my first few months at the firm. 

I have benefited from the firm’s Unassigned Program. I understand that many other firms either have a formal rotation system or require incoming associates to select a group before they join the firm. For me, it was extremely important to have the opportunity to try a variety of areas I was curious about before having to choose an area of focus. I am now part of the firm’s M&A group, but the Unassigned Program allowed me to also try assignments in IP/entertainment, securities and finance during my first two years, which I think helps me have a better-rounded understanding of the M&A transactions that I now work on.