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2021 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.

James Walker III, First-Year Corporate Associate

I was drawn to Paul, Weiss because I wanted to do true corporate work—to be at the center of major transactions. The firm’s rotational program offers the opportunity to learn firsthand what area of corporate law really speaks to you. Another major benefit is that you are put on the “front lines” a lot earlier. I get to interact directly with multibillion-dollar clients—companies where I actually know and see the product in real life—on the phone or zoom. It’s unusual to be given such freedom and access as a first-year associate.

No matter where you go, your hours as a junior associate will be long, but if you’re going to do long hours, you might as well do it with great people. That’s what makes Paul, Weiss unique. The difference between something you want to do versus something you have to do is the team around you. I’ve had memorable nights where I collaborated with associates here in New York and in Asia to draft an urgent, last-minute memo requested by a client. Just being able to move in that way to push out an excellent product efficiently is really inspiring. 

 Lissette Duran, Seventh-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, Fifth-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, Sixth-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.