RAP Prepares LLS Alumna for Legal Career and More
In August 2017, Brianna Wilson had just taken the California Bar Exam. She had recently graduated from Loyola Law School, and she knew she wanted to start her career search off right. While working with Loyola’s Career Development Office, Wilson saw opportunity in the Resident Associate Program (RAP), which supplies newly minted lawyers access to firms that do not typically hire entry-level associates for employers that pay salaries comparable to market rate. The program also provides a streamlined single-application process, which enabled Wilson to easily submit her application for multiple positions.
With the help of RAP, Wilson is now a well-qualified associate for Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, a full-service law firm located in the heart of Los Angeles, where she currently represents businesses and individuals in all aspects of civil litigation.
Q: How did you get involved with the Resident Associate Program?
A: I knew after I took the California Bar Exam that I would need to continue looking for employment. My career advisor mentioned the one-year RAP program as an option to quickly find a position – an opportunity to get my foot in the door of a firm that did not typically hire attorneys with zero years of experience. I decided to apply, thinking it would be a great way to gain litigation experience for at least a year and, by the end of the year, have more marketable skills that would help me in my career, whether I continued working for the firm or went elsewhere.
Q: Where were you working, and what did your day-to-day look like?
A: I was hired by Berman Berman Berman Schneider & Lowary LLP. In the beginning, I was given a handful of projects from different attorneys in the office to work on – drafting discovery, reviewing records and covering court appearances. Shortly after, I was assigned cases to handle by myself with different partners. This included handling communications with the client and opposing counsel, completing all written discovery, attending court appearances and depositions, writing any motion work needed and trial preparation.
Q: How did RAP prepare you to hit the ground running as a first-year associate?
A: My RAP employer, and many others, offered me a position as a law clerk while I was awaiting bar results before I started my first year as an associate. The experience was invaluable. I was able to understand how the firm worked, gain experience and create relationships that grew into mentorships before I even passed the bar. Once I was passed the bar, I was already trusted to handle court appearances, depositions, writing motions and even attend a mediation my first month as an attorney.
Q: What was your biggest accomplishment as a first-year associate?
A: Early on, I wrote a motion to dismiss an appeal that was granted. I think my biggest accomplishment in general was being able to develop my writing skills. I worked with attorneys who devoted a lot of time to providing me feedback on my writing. Near the end of my time with the firm, I drafted a mediation brief that resulted in the plaintiff significantly lowering his demand, and we were able to settle the case.
Q: How has RAP helped you map your career path?
A: Working with RAP and Berman Berman Berman Schneider & Lowary completely prepared me for my current position as an associate attorney at Wilson Elser. I have already received positive feedback on my writing and feel confident as an attorney because I learned so much at my RAP firm. The mentorship I received there and connections I made really were invaluable. I still keep in contact with the attorneys I worked with at the firm.