Law Students looking for summer positions must juggle numerous factors, such as which kind of culture, specialization, and location is right for them. Tiffany Williams, a current associate at Venable LLP, recalls that when she was a rising 2L at Cornell Law School, all she wanted was to find a competitive legal position where she could be herself. At the 2014 Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair, she found one.
Tiffany first heard about Lavender Law® through Cornell’s LGBT law group. She didn’t know what to expect. She had little experience with LGBT law groups, events, or conferences outside of her own school because she did not come out until the final years of her undergraduate education. “I didn’t know of anyone before me who had gone to Lav Law, so I didn’t know what to expect,” she says.
Despite her lack of experience, Tiffany registered for Lavender Law®. When she arrived at the conference, she felt an immediate sense of ease because of the air of camaraderie and shared experience among attendees. “I really appreciated the event itself as someone who, at that time, had only been out maybe two and a half years,” she recalls. “As someone who was becoming more comfortable in my identity, especially as it related to my budding career, it was important to me to feel comfortable wherever I worked. Lavender Law®’s career fair provided that avenue.”
Tiffany met with several recruiters at the Lavender Law® Career Fair, but made an easy connection with the representatives from Venable LLP. She struck up a conversation with the firm’s recruiters and before she knew it, she had already gone through her first interview. “I went by and started a casual conversation, and then after thirty minutes of just talking and getting to know each other, they had asked for my resume,” she says.
The next day, Venable LLP invited Tiffany to a callback interview, and within weeks they had offered her a summer associate position. Tiffany says that meeting the Venable LLP associates at Lavender Law® set a positive tone for her entire interview process. “A big part of my decision making was that it was refreshing that my connection to Venable was through a conference that celebrated orientation and identity, and that the firm had made a point to be there.”
After her tenure as a summer associate, Venable LLP offered Tiffany a full associate position in their New York office. She spent several years there before transferring to Venable’s Washington, D.C. office last October, where she continues to work as a litigation associate.
Tiffany has been back to the Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair several times as an attorney, and plans to attend the 2019 Conference on August 7-9 in Philadelphia. She says she still feels a deep connection to the Conference because of its role in starting her career, and she hopes to be an example to current students on the hunt for the perfect job. “It’s daunting to be different than everyone else,” she admits. “I’m always looking for an opportunity to talk to students going through that process and say, ‘look, whether you want to go into big law or public interest, there is a place for you and there are welcoming spaces for you. Things have gotten better and you can be whoever you are in the legal field.’”
Everyone goes to Lavender Law® for different reasons, and Tiffany says that whether you are looking for a job or attending panels, there is always value in listening to the experiences of others. “Hearing different stories and experiences can shed light on how far our community has come,” she says. “But it may also vary in terms of what opportunities are out there.” For job-seekers specifically, she advises keeping an open mind. “You never know who you’ll meet. I never thought I’d get a job offer, let alone strike up a conversation with someone that turned out to be an interview. I was just talking to them about my experience coming out, it just organically turned that way.”
We are excited to welcome return attendees like Tiffany, as well as students and attorneys attending for the very first time, at the 2019 Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair this August in Philadelphia!