Career Spotlight: Andrew Fawbush and Peter Baumgartner of LeBoeuf Lamb
Andrew Fawbush and Peter Baumgartner, attorneys from the law firm of LeBoeuf Lamb, spoke to UF Law students Sept. 8 about practicing in big cities. Fawbush, who practices in LeBoeuf’s Jacksonville office and is licensed to practice in New York and Washington D.C., and Baumgaertner, who works in the firm’s New York City office, provided insight into obtaining employment in large cities, as well as what a large city practice is really like.
Since it can be difficult for Florida grads to break into big cities in the Northeast and the West Coast right out of law school, the attorneys suggested students interested in practicing in a big city should target firms that have a presence in larger cities such as New York and Los Angeles as well as many smaller cities throughout the country. Baumgaertner, a William and Lee graduate, initially joined LeBoeuf Lamb’s Jacksonville office. Like Fawbush, his work with major clients gave him the opportunity to join the New York City office, a transition he is happy to have made. Fawbush, who earned his undergrad and law degrees at UF, chose to stay in Florida, but frequents New York City as needed.
The key is to network. The best way to land a job in the city you desire is to find Florida law grads or alumni from your undergraduate institution, let them know you want to practice in their city, and try to set up an informational interview. Even if their firm is not hiring, they might know who is hiring, and they can open roads for you that otherwise might seem unavailable.
Baumgaertner encouraged students to do research and attend career fairs where the firms with offices in major cities recruit. This requires extra effort and expense on your part, but it provides you with the requisite exposure and access to those who practice in cities such as New York.
Finding employment with a federal govern- ment agency is an excellent way into New York City firms, Baumgartner said. For example, if you would like to be an attorney working on large mergers and acquisitions, a stint with the SEC will provide you with specialized knowledge and an insider’s point of view that New York firms covet. Consider the fields in which you want to practice, and research which federal agency might be a logical stepping stone for that field.
While work in a New York firm typically requires an immense time commitment, the payoff is working with the kinds of high-pro- file clients, deals, and cases that are on the front pages of major newspapers. A New York practice can be extremely exciting and cutting edge.