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Spencer Patton, alumnus

Profile Photo of Spencer Patton

Career After Law School

I am an associate in the U.S. Corporate team at the London office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, an American firm based out of New York City. My work focuses primarily on capital markets and mergers and acquisitions transactions. My primary day-to-day responsibilities are to help draft transaction documents and to coordinate with members of the companies, local counsel in various foreign jurisdictions, and counsel for the opposing party, on occasion, to ensure that the transaction is moving along according to schedule and that everyone is on the same page as to the information that needs to be provided to ensure that we get the drafting done correctly.

Shaping Career Ambitions

I think the primary way my time at Texas law shaped my career ambitions is by allowing me to interact with some of the most intelligent and ambitious people I've ever had the opportunity to be around. I have no doubt that some of my close friends from UT will go on to do big things in their lives and careers, and their dedication reinforced my own ambitions and choices at a crucial time. As far as working for a big law firm, I can't say that UT had much to do with that trajectory. I think it's not uncommon for people to go to law school with the hope of working for a big law firm, and I was no different in that regard. As far as choosing to work in corporate law as opposed to litigation, that was more a matter of personal preference than anything else.

Transition from Student to Lawyer

The transition has been about as expected. In all honesty, it's nice to have someone else calling the shots - working as a young associate requires a lot less self-motivation than being a student, which I find relaxing, at least for the time being.

Working in the UK is much the same as it would be elsewhere. That's probably mostly a product of the fact that I still work for an American law firm representing largely American clients. As far as adjusting socially and culturally, that's been a bit of a challenge. I don't mind it because the personal challenge was part of the reason I came to the UK, but I would encourage anyone else thinking about starting their career abroad to think very hard about it before doing so.Working in a different country sounds cool, but it can be a real challenge to figure out how to make the most of your time when you don't have a lot of it.

Advice for Current Law Students

Work hard. Try to spend your 3L year doing something worthwhile, and be honest to yourself about your goals.If you are very serious about making a career out of big law, settle someplace where you see yourself for the long haul.

collage of photos with Spencer

Quick facts:

Name:
Spencer Patton
Graduation Year:
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 could run outside almost anywhere I wanted), but 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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