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Panel helps students explore corporate counsel careers

April 21, 2009

Law students attended a Corporate Counsel Career Panel this month, where five members of Virginia State Bar Corporate Counsel section shared their expertise and insight on working within the confines of a corporation.

The guests shared personal and often humorous stories, all with several common themes: none of them expected to end up in a corporate environment, they learned early in their legal careers that they didn’t enjoy billable hours and client development, and their legal backgrounds certainly added value to the jobs they do today.

Jimmy Watts, a 1991 graduate of Washington and Lee School of Law and current salesman with Scott Insurance, told students that “the process of how to think and how to analyze is critical to whatever you do. It is not limited to trial work or private practice.”

Mary Barney, Associate General Counsel for Genworth, said that working for one corporation does not limit the work she sees: “We encounter something new every day and have a lot of variety in what we do.”

Cham Light, General Counsel for Nationwide Insurance and an adjunct professor at Liberty University School of Law, moderated the panel, which also included Bill Paxton, a partner at financial services firm Davidson & Garrard, and Doug Callaway, Corporate Counsel for Stellar One. The Corporate Counsel section members of the Virginia State Bar encourage students to start thinking about their career options early in their legal education.

The school’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) sponsored the event and hosted a light reception following the panel.