David Cassidy

David Cassidy

Weekend Warriors: David Cassidy

David Cassidy is a 4L weekend student who worked as a summer associate at Lowenstein Sandler LLP in its Roseland, New Jersey office. He will return as an associate after the Bar exam.

How was your experience at Lowenstein Sandler this summer?
What a great environment! From the people I greeted each morning at the front desk, to the file clerks and paralegals, to the associates and partners, it is truly a team effort top to bottom, and the Firm respects each individual and the role they play. I found Lowenstein to be a warm and encouraging environment. I am older; I was the oldest summer associate by over ten years and candidly, I was nervous. My nerves were misplaced. The level of respect I was treated with was refreshing. The partners were highly accessible and the associates, especially the SHU Alums, were incredibly helpful. I worked on over twenty different matters over the ten weeks I was there, and I gained experience that I couldn't predict. Lowenstein presented opportunity and guidance, along with an accessible environment to walk away a better student and future attorney. There was no practice area that was off-limits, anything I wanted to try I found an opportunity. Perhaps that should not have been surprising, but it was the best part of the summer, as I now understand the options I will have in the future.

It was also refreshing that the Firm understood the Summer Associates' lack of experience and had tremendous patience with all of us. They were wonderful teachers, and each summer associate had two mentors assigned to them that were accessible and will continue to be. It is a well-structured program that is designed so summer associates can succeed with the firm.

What makes Lowenstein Sandler different than other firms?
Lowenstein is a large firm but it has an incredible history of pro bono and community service work. Mr. Lowenstein was a founding member of the NJ Center for Social Justice and his legacy is ever-present. The commitment to its clients is clear, and the Firm's commitment to community service is genuine. There is an incredible opportunity to build a great career and simultaneously use your talents to assist others.

Was there an assignment you did this summer that really stands out to you as an incredible experience?
I worked across practice groups in both the Corporate and Litigation practices. The most unique opportunity, however, was to co-author an article with a Partner on the Copyright Office's guidance regarding AI-assisted creative works and the requisite human authorship requirement. I did great substantive work, but this was an unexpected opportunity that will hopefully lead to publication.

Did Lowenstein Sandler help you make decisions about your post-graduation plans?
I received an offer to join after the Bar as an associate and I have accepted. I am working with the Firm's career development department now to chart what practice area I will enter. The Firm has great resources to balance your career goals with the needs of the Firm. I am a non-traditional student and I am encouraged by how my experience is respected as an asset to be utilized.

Do you have any advice for students interested in working at a big law firm?
Yes. The summer was filled with social functions, lunches, and dinners. I made a point of putting in extra hours on the work side and meeting as many people in as many practice areas as possible through my work product. I believe this decision while balancing the social aspect, created opportunities for when I return. As a first year, it will be different and a lunch is great, but making a mark with great work product will lead to early opportunity in areas that interest you. Find that balance, because when you return you, will be working hard hours, and knowing what is expected of you on some level going in should pay dividends.

What are you looking forward to the most as you start your legal career?
Simply, new challenges. I am leaving a successful career in a different field but have never been complacent. I wanted to achieve both of my life career goals and I am a year away from doing so. I believe that Lowenstein will afford me a path to carve out success in the Firm and a legal path that is creatively fulfilling.

How did you find your summer job at Lowenstein?
I went through Fall OCI. Most people I was with received their Lowenstein summer slots through Pre-OCI. There were fewer summer slots this year and, in a competitive market, it is currently recommended by recruiters to get in early.

How was it going through the recruitment process as a weekend student?
I recommend to weekend students to be more proactive in reaching out to SHU resources to understand OCI and recruitment. I was fortunate to take a shot and get good guidance from Maria Capra. Resources are present, but you need to be your own best advocate and not wait for someone to come to you to offer guidance. You should reach out to the relevant offices at SHU early and often. Further, reach out to students who had summer positions at firms you think you would like to apply to and discuss their strategies and what they heard the firm's recruiters are emphasizing.

A recruiting partner told me the most important thing for him on a resume, besides grades and activities, is the "Interests" section. Be sure to include one and list one or two things you enjoy. They are a conversation starter and recruiters want to have a conversation with you to get to know you as a person and how you present yourself.

What advice do you have for other students going through Fall Recruitment or Spring Recruitment?
Specifically to weekend and non-traditional students, your life experience is seen as a significant asset. It is important to think about how you can take a leave of absence from your present employment between your 3LW and 4LW years if you want to graduate with a position lined up. When I was given my offer for the summer position, the hiring partner told me he pushed for my candidacy because he knew I had a record of hard work and that was seen as an asset. Instead of viewing age as an impediment, view your work experience as the strength it is and market yourself around it. It was a sacrifice and a bit of risk for me to take a leave but I was paid well and have retained good relationships with my employers. Things worked out for me and I received the ideal job offer. It came with taking a chance since many non-traditional students need to pause steady employment in such a situation as I did. However, if you believe your future is in a larger firm, I recommend you take every step you can to apply to firms in Pre-OCI and to participate in Fall OCI before the start of your 3LW year. Consult the University resources as well as your trusted professors, do what you can to create your maximum opportunities along the way since by the end of your 4LW year you will have put in a lot of work and deserve to see the payoff.

Finally, clerkships are important to many of my fellow students. Know that many firms will let you enter and take a leave after a couple of years to go back out to clerk. There are many paths to reach all of your goals. Personally, I am glad I chose to secure employment first and now can consider clerking a year or two from now should my path in the firm show that to be wise.