RealJobs: Angela Donkor

Welcome to New York City! I am not going to engage in the debate over whether NYC is better than Boston because the truth is I love both cities. I love Boston because of the number of young people in the city. When I was at BC, I met so many other college students through volunteering and interning in the city. In times of stress, I use to take the train to Prudential Center and just spend hours walking around. It is amazing how much new prospective you can gain just by stepping away from the BC campus. And I love NYC because it is a mini version of the world.

Also, what I enjoy about NYC is the opportunity to meet people your age and older. In the 7 months I have been in NYC, I have made new friends and found a mentor who is helping me with law school. My mentor’s name is Larry and I met him and his wife at a benefit gala and through networking with them, they have taken me in as their own. Larry was a partner at a law in NYC and a professor at NYU Law for over 26 years. I share this story with you so you can understand the networking opportunities that NYC can present.

paul weiss

Like NYC, Paul, Weiss is a vibrant community of scholars who have come together because they share the same passion for the law. At Paul, Weiss we have a number of ways you can get involve with the firm. For example, I play for the Paul, Weiss Volleyball Team. I have been playing on the team for 7 months and we even made it to the play offs! We play against other law firms, investment banks and other prominent companies. Through that, I have made friends with other recent grads whom I would have never met. We also have a Tennis, Basketball, Soccer teams.

You might be wondering, all of this sounds really exciting but what are the challenges of being a paralegal at Paul, Weiss? I think the biggest challenge is prioritizing. There is a running joke at Paul, Weiss about how everything here is always URGENT. The truth is everything is not urgent because everything cannot be urgent. As a paralegal, you are going to be dealing with different lawyers and different cases. And every lawyer you work with will make you feel like their case is the most important and you have to be able to read between the lines and understand what really is a priority. One way to do this is to always ask what the timeline is for any project you are giving. Sometimes you might get three different projects from three different lawyers but one of them is due ASAP, and the other two can be done by the next day or even later. Asking for a timeline always helps you be on top of your game.

The other challenge is your own ego and this is true of any job out of college. If you end up at Paul, Weiss or any other prominent company, chances are you did very well at BC, you stood out and you are smart. Remembering that you are smart is so important because there are going to be times when you will make a mistake or someone else will do a job better than you. In those moments, you have to remember that someone else doing better or you making a mistake has nothing to do with your intellect or your ability to make a difference in the world. The first time you step foot at your first job, remember that whatever happens there is not personal and it is not about you. I can’t tell you the number of young people I have met in NYC who have burned bridges or damaged their reputation because they took everything at their job as a personal matter. At BC, everything is personal and you are at the center of everything. In the real world with a real job, it is the opposite and your ability to make that transition is critical.

Next time, I will talk about how to reconcile BC’s culture of service and giving back with working in corporate America. If you leave BC to work for a firm that represents the billionaires of the world, are you selling your soul? I will address this question in my next blog and explain why I believe working at Paul, Weiss is in itself a form of service. Thank you for reading!

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