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Spencer Patton, 3L

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Opportunity to Explore

I didn’t know I would end up as a corporate lawyer when I entered law school because I wasn't familiar enough with any type of law before I got to UT. There are definitely things I like about litigation: I very much enjoy writing, and litigating is what I’ll call “classic lawyering,” in the sense that litigating involves utilizing a skill set that is more readily identified with the things that lawyers are trained to do. However, I also like business, and corporate lawyers are very much business people. In the end, the business side of things won out, largely because I enjoy learning about businesses and capital markets. Litigation and corporate law are so different, and because the choice between the two really comes down to personal preference and disposition, I think trying both is informative, so that’s what I did.

Becoming a Better Leader

Serving as the managing editor (ME) of the Texas Law Review has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my entire life and has helped me develop and strengthen a number of skills. My primary reason for wanting to be the ME was the challenge of leading a group of people who are among the smartest individuals I have ever met. If I had to identify a single thing that both being the ME of the Law Review and law school, generally, have made me better at, it’s managing stress. Law school can be very stressful for a variety of reasons, and achieving success in such an environment means having a concrete stress management strategy that works for you. For me, that’s been exercising and always making sure I spend time with my friends. Law school has made me appreciate the non-negotiability of those two things, and that is hands down the most important thing I will take away.

Secret to Success

Weirdly, the event that has had the biggest impact on my life as a law student was an event I attended at the beginning of my 1L year. The event was a panel of students who had been asked to speak about how they had been successful as 1Ls. I had come to law school with the hope that I would be able to adhere to the exercise schedule I had set for myself, and with the hope that I wouldn’t have to spend literally all of my time in the library. One of the students on the panel said that, as a 1L, she had worked out five days a week and had never studied later than 9 p.m. Seeing another student be successful while living the same kind of life that I wanted for myself as a 1L gave me confidence that I could do the same.

Most Memorable Moment

Becoming a Teaching Quizmaster (TQ), which is essentially a teaching assistant for the legal writing program, was my most memorable moment. I found out I was selected at the end of my 1L year, and when I was told I had been selected, I was also told that I would be a TQ with my closest friend, Ryan, and for my 1L writing instructor, Kamela Bridges, for whom I have an immense amount of respect. I know Kamela has very high standards, so it was a big confidence booster to have been selected by her. Being selected as a TQ was my first real achievement in law school, and the first time I had what I considered to be objective evidence that I was doing things right.

Life After Law School

After I graduate, I will be working in the London office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, an American firm based out of New York City. I’m excited for the opportunity to work in the UK; it’s always been a dream of mine, although I didn’t really think I would get the opportunity so soon. Simpson Thacher helped make the dream a reality by offering to send me to the London office for a part of my summer working there, and things worked out between me and the folks in the London office, so I was given the opportunity to go to the office permanently. I decided to start my career over in the UK for two reasons. First, and primarily, relocating to a different country represents a large personal challenge because I don’t know anyone in London. I am nervous about needing to start my personal life from scratch, but I think starting over allows people to become better versions of themselves, so I am looking forward to that. Second, I love to travel, and working in London will make travel a lot cheaper and more accessible.

collage of photos with Spencer

Quick facts:

Name:
Spencer Patton
Expected graduation:
2014
Hometown:
Naperville, Ill.
Undergrad university and majors:
Loyola University Chicago, B.A., English; B.A., political science

Organizations and internships:

Notable internship:
Judicial intern, Hon. Xavier Rodriguez, Federal District Judge for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division
UT Law organizations:
Managing Editor, Texas Law Review
Teaching Quizmaster (as a 2L)
Street Law and Student Recruitment and Orientation Committee (as a 1L)

Favorites:

Favorite study spot:
PCL (on campus)
Thunderbird Coffee (off campus)
Favorite place to eat near campus:
Chilito
Quality Seafood
Favorite thing about Austin:
Fact that it is really the best of both worlds; parts of it feel small (I can run outside almost anywhere I want), but I still have all of the social aspects of living in a big city.
Favorite class:
Contracts/Securities Regulation

Tips:

Tips for balancing school and life:
The biggest myth about law school is that there is a "right" way to go about it. But in reality, law school is just like anything else in life; you will only be successful if you do the things that allow you to be successful. For me, that was making sure I always had time to exercise and for my friends and family.
Tips for landing a job at a law firm:
For 1Ls, definitely don’t think about it at all during your first semester, and don’t think about it that much during your second semester. For people who want to work in law firms, it is by no means imperative to have a firm job after your 1L summer. I worked for a firm between my 2L and 3L years, and as a judicial intern between my 1L and 2L years. But to be honest, firms place a huge amount of emphasis on your grades, so while you don’t need to worry about working for a firm both summers, those who do want to do the law firm thing should focus on their grades.
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