Ask an Alum: Bettina Guevara-Timms '05
1. Describe how you arrived at your chosen career path:
Throughout law school, I was always interested in the intersection of business and law and took classes in those areas. I was also an Assistant Articles Editor of The Business Lawyer, ABA Section of Business Law. I knew that I wanted to work in a collaborative environment where many people work together to achieve a positive result. Thus, in searching for employers for summer associate jobs, I focused on firms that had a strong reputation of working with business clients and was very fortunate to receive an offer from Miles & Stockbridge P.C. During the summer program, I was exposed to real estate transactions, representing both lenders and companies in financing, acquiring and leasing of commercial real estate and it was an instant match.
2. What is important for students to get out of law school to prepare for a career after graduation?
Solid writing and analytical skills are key to any first-class law practice. In addition, the ability to work well with others is something that law students should not underestimate. I recommend that they take seriously any group projects and learn to work well with other people. When students get into the workforce, they will have to work with other attorneys, assistants and clients and being able to properly handle this social environment is key to a successful law practice.
3. Describe a day on the job:
During the morning, I may draft a set of loan documents for a large commercial real estate transaction, send emails regarding various leasing transactions and attend a conference call for a national client that is acquiring several pieces of real estate throughout the country. In the afternoon, I may review due diligence for another deal which may include title work and surveys and draft a memorandum incorporating my comments to the items I have reviewed. I often answer phone calls from clients or opposing counsel throughout the day and provide updates to various parties on the transactions I am working on, and often have to call people back. I sometimes engage in phone negotiations with opposing counsel regarding the terms of drafted agreements. Overall, juggling several transactions at the same time is the customary balancing act that transactional attorneys perform on a daily basis.
4. What has been a rewarding experience for you as a professional?
Many times, I drive around town or go to another city, another state or search on Google Earth and see the final result of a transaction that I was involved with and it is extremely rewarding to know that I was involved in the process of making this a reality for our client.
5. What would you have done differently during law school or early in your career?
I would not have done anything differently. In addition to focusing on my classes, I spent a lot of time networking in law school and it has produced some very strong mentoring relationships as an attorney so I am happy that I was involved with extracurricular activities in law school as well.
6. What are the challenges you think attorneys face professionally in the coming years and how can they prepare now?
For business attorneys, our professional challenges are demands from our clients. Our clients demand that business attorneys actually have technical knowledge about their business and have a solid business background. I would recommend to law students who want to be business attorneys that they take as many business law classes as they can while in law school. For current attorneys, always asking our clients about new changes to their businesses, learning about their business and businesses in general, learning about their industry, doing independent reading on innovative changes to the business world and attending conferences to keep up with many changes that intersect their business and our practice is the best way to prepare for the challenges ahead.