A Week in the Life of Two Winston Associates
We asked two associates to share a few highlights from a typical workweek at Winston. John Secaras, a fifth-year associate in Chicago works in the firm’s rapidly growing Transactions Department and specializes in M&A and private equity deals. Neha Vyas is a second-year associate in New York who works in the firm’s vaunted Sports Litigation Practice.
Neha: We had a team meeting this morning to game plan for our ongoing antitrust litigation relating to NCAA athlete’s names, images and likenesses. The student-athlete work is very interesting. Earlier in the year, I helped research the Supreme Court Brief that led to a landmark win for NCAA athletes. I came to Winston to do sports work and I am gaining tons of valuable experience.
John: Today, I made time to attend Winston’s Mini MBA program: Around the Blockchain and learned about smart contracts and earned CLE credit.
Neha: I met my mentors for dinner. I have a senior associate mentor and a partner mentor, both in litigation. They have helped and taught me a ton!
John: Tonight we celebrated closing a major deal with a client dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Chicago. It’s always nice to have these face-to-face opportunities to connect with clients.
John: I started my day with a catch-up call with our pro bono partner Equip for Equality—a nonprofit organization focused on protecting the education rights of disabled people in Illinois. I’ve worked with them for several years and now lead our relationship with them, representing multiple clients in the Chicagoland area. Earlier in the year, we celebrated when an autistic kindergarten student who we represented finally gained access to the educational support he deserves. My pro bono work is extremely meaningful to me, and it has provided me with innumerable growth opportunities and the opportunity to work with various attorneys across the firm.
Neha: I had a one-on-one coaching session today with my Career Development Advisor to discuss my workload.
John: I reached out to the Department’s assignment partner over Microsoft Teams to discuss staffing needs on a deal that’s ramping up.
John: I had an Associates Committee meeting via Microsoft Teams. I’m one of three associates from the Chicago office on the Committee. We discussed the recent shooting in Buffalo and the email from our Chairman about the Firm’s commitment to racial justice and the firm’s Pro Bono Racial Justice & Equity CEASE Initiative, which was formed two years ago and significantly increased Winston’s pro bono commitment to racial justice matters. I feel proud to work for a firm that’s taking action that makes a difference in people’s lives and in our society.
Neha: Today I spent much of the day doing pro bono work with four other junior associates, a senior associate, and a partner. We are doing a state survey to figure out whether and how other states apply a specific negligence rule. This work is for the NYCLU in a case relating to police-inflicted misfeasance.
John: I ate lunch today while watching Winston’s Time Mastery workshop and earning CLE credit. It was helpful to be reminded of the big picture and I learned some valuable tips on how to be more productive and make the best use of my time.
John: I met my new mentee today. We went to lunch at the café downstairs, and he seems like a really great guy. I’m happy to be able to pay it forward and mentor junior associates through Winston’s formal mentorship program.
Neha: I wrapped up the day with a Winston Asian Leadership Alliance meeting—a virtual wine tasting over Zoom. This was a great way to end a hectic day and I received three bottles of wine, which was a nice Thursday surprise!
John: Tonight, after working late, I contacted At Your Service—Winston’s free concierge program—and asked for help finding a unique Father’s Day gift for my dad. What a relief it was to check that off my to do list.
John: This morning I met with one of my two “go-to” summer associates to discuss their allocation of assignments. As a summer committee member in Chicago, one of my roles is to meet weekly with the two summer associates assigned to me and gauge how their existing work is going and identify opportunities to introduce them to other attorneys who might be able to provide them with assignments aligned with their career interests.
Neha: Today was filled with client meetings and calls. On several calls, I had a client-facing role, which I really appreciate.
John: After a day filled with reviewing and editing definitive deal documentation and going over deal closing checklists, we had a tense call with the seller’s counsel negotiating better deal terms for our client, as the buyer. I knew I would be working remotely through the weekend, so I ended my day at the quarterly associates happy hour, followed by dinner with friends from law school who live in the city.
Neha: TGIF! I ended the week by attending the New York office’s Martini Friday event. It was a busy week, and it was nice to relax and chat with other associates and partners. Then, I met some friends for a fun dinner!
Summer associate recruiting season is well under way. As a law student, you may be curious what is going on behind the scenes and what the hiring partners and recruiting professionals are really thinking.
For those who are invested in such things, be they prospective students assessing which school to attend or alumni wondering how the prestige of their alma mater is faring, the new US News law rankings released on March 28. There was one extremely significant event in the ranking shifts this year, as some predicted given the changes in US News' methodology over last year.
You’ve just received word that your job is going to switch to the fully remote paradigm. That means no more travel expenses or traffic, no more rushing frenetically from place to place, and no more of the crushing outfit dilemma you’ve faced with each new day.
On Friday, May 20, 2022, Vault Law will host an OCI Readiness Summit for law students looking to prepare for and find summer and other associate positions through OCI. You can register for this free informational summit here, and learn more about it below.