Abid R. Qureshi is a Litigation & Trial partner in the Washington, DC office of Latham & Watkins and currently serves as the Global Chair of Latham’s Recruiting Committee. In his practice, Abid represents clients involved in complex commercial litigation matters, regulatory proceedings, and government investigations. Abid is the former Global Chair of Latham’s Pro Bono Committee and previously served as Co-Chair for the Washington DC office Litigation Department. He received his B.A. from Cornell University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. In 2016, President Obama nominated Abid to an open seat on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Under Abid’s leadership, Latham recently announced the launch of two new practice-focused scholarships, the 2L M&A Scholars Program and the 2L White Collar Defense Scholars Program. Abid joins us to give an inside view of these new programs.
Vault: So why did the firm decide to add these two new practice-focused scholarships?
Qureshi: With a rapidly evolving legal recruiting landscape, we are seeking ways to engage with students and provide them with meaningful opportunities to learn more about our practices and firm culture. Our hope is that these innovative programs are mutually beneficial and allow students to make more informed and thoughtful employment decisions by arming them with networking, mentoring, and virtual experience programs.
Vault: Can you tell us a little more about the virtual experience programs?
Qureshi: These programs are still in development, but we’re using cutting-edge technology to provide a virtual work experience for law students. Students will be able to enroll in this program, immerse themselves in a hypothetical legal project, and complete “life-like” legal tasks. These tasks will give students an exclusive look at the nature of work at a global law firm. Students will be able to build practical skills, gain a better understanding of commercial law practice, all while learning more about careers at Latham.
Vault: And how were these two practices selected?
Qureshi: M&A and White Collar Defense are among our most successful practice areas. Our practice scholarships offer exciting opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and mentoring during the summer.
M&A Scholars will work closely with our lawyers as they advise on sophisticated domestic and cross-border transactions across a range of industries, gaining an understanding of substantive legal issues and market trends that impact global deal-making.
Our White Collar Defense Scholars will receive practical, hands-on training, and be a part of a highly talented, cross-border team, which is experienced in every substantive area, from securities regulation to healthcare fraud to export controls to data privacy and security, and includes regulatory practitioners, career defense advocates, and former high-ranking members of the government.
Vault: How will scholars be selected?
Qureshi: Applications will be reviewed by members of our Recruiting Committee. A select number will be called back for interviews. We’ll be looking at academic and leadership achievements, life experiences that have shaped values and professional goals, previous work experience, and the desire to practice M&A or White Collar Defense law in one of Latham’s U.S. Offices.
Vault: Are the scholarships tied to job offers at the firm?
Qureshi: Yes. Both programs award select second-year law school students an offer of summer employment, tailored mentoring from a senior lawyer in the practice, the opportunity to participate in a virtual experience program, and a scholarship, which will be paid upon starting as a full-time associate at the firm.
Vault: Should we expect to see more similar practice-focused scholarships from Latham in the future?
Qureshi: We are going to start small, but we are hopeful that these programs are successful and that we can expand to additional practice areas in the future.
Vault: Can you tell us a little bit about Latham’s other scholarship programs?
Qureshi: We launched our Diversity Scholars Program in 2005. Since then, we’ve given away over $1 million in scholarships. The scholarship is designed for students who share our commitment to diversity and inclusion and want to practice at a global law firm. In 2015, we launched the 1L Fellows Program, which allows students a unique opportunity to split time between a Latham office and a client site.
Both programs include sponsored participation in our Diversity Leadership Academy and our Summer Academy. The programs also provide meaningful networking with and mentoring from firm leaders and a progressive scholarship.
Vault: And, finally, what advice would you give to law students who are going through the process of evaluating legal employers? How can they best set themselves up for success as they enter the legal market?
Qureshi: Learn as much as you can. The best way to set yourself up for long-term success is by gathering as much information as possible about the various firms and opportunities in the legal market. Engage with prospective employers early and often, from coffees and lunches with your law school’s alumni to applying for scholarships such as our 2L M&A and White Collar Defense Scholars Program. Participating in early outreach and engagement opportunities will allow you to make a thoughtful and informed decision on what employer is right for you.