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Staying the Course Through
with Milton Cheng, Global Chair, Baker McKenzie

Featured Articles - Issue 9

Advice to Young Lawyers

Our legal mavericks featured throughout this issue share the advice they wish they had known when they were starting out:


John Berry: “Choose your own path. The worst story I remember was when I graduated and was interviewing for jobs. A partner at a law firm told me that the reason he had been a tax lawyer for the past 30 years was because that is the department the firm put him in when he joined the firm as a first-year lawyer. Don’t be that guy—experiment and try and find something you truly enjoy (even if it’s not the law).”


Stuart Fuller: “Listen and learn. As a lawyer, you get exposed to so many different types of transactions; take it all in. You are trained to speak well, think well, write well and bring different perspectives than other roles. Use those assets in your interactions with others to your advantage. Lawyers deliver value that we don’t always appreciate.”


Vanessa Johannes: “For young women and minorities, the imposter syndrome is real and you have to learn how to get over it. Often you are the only one in the room, which is intimidating, but I’ve learned there is a beauty and blessing in that because you bring a different perspective into the room. Remember a lot of people have paved the way and you have to keep leaning in.”


LaVon Johns: “This is a marathon, not a sprint, so slow down. You will be in this for a long period of time, so study as hard as you can, learn all you can and make friendships along the way—build those as young as you can and grow them. You don’t know how your relationships are going to impact you—some are my clients, some are my mentors. It’s all about being a good person/citizen.”


Damion Wilcot: “Develop good habits around maintaining a good balance in your life. Get in a routine of just taking care of yourself/your body—physically, mentally and spiritually. You can easily get your life out of balance in our profession, so be good about that from the beginning.”


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