“I feared that I wasn’t doing enough to prepare for my future,” he said. “Am I supposed to be doing something that I'm not doing right now? I wondered that a lot, especially as I'm the first person in my family to go to law school.”
He decided to introduce himself to every professor and wound up connecting with Professor Bryant, who grew up in a population of 3,000 and left his hometown for law school in Chicago.
“He showed up at one of my first office hours, and he sits down and settles in and is just like, ‘Hey. I just thought I'd introduce myself.’ And I was like, okay, that's cool. Not every student does that, you know?” said Professor Bryant with a chuckle. “Pretty quickly he opened up to me that he was going through a kind of culture shock. I could relate. Law school is a different world, it can feel alienating at first.”
Professor Bryant became an influential mentor to Jacob at law school, and Jacob was able to pay it forward through his role as Bryant’s teaching assistant. Trying to stay focused on his path to a career, Jacob got involved in other ways and landed a summer externship with a judge for the Southern District of Ohio as well as serving as President of the Federalist Society.
But when it came time to apply for jobs during on campus interviews his second year, his fear of not being able to break into the profession reared its head again.
“I struck out. I did not get anything,” he said, reflecting on the devastation he felt. “I'm actually very proud of myself for this moment because I didn't give up.”
Jacob decided to fall back on his congeniality and work ethic and sent an email to a partner at Goodwin Procter, a New York firm that typically hires candidates from top ranked law schools like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. The partner eventually offered him the job and was struck by Jacob’s willingness to reach out.
“It can be intimidating,” he said. “People might be smarter. They might be more well-read. They might know more, but I can be just as hard of a worker. And when it comes down to that, I have a lot of confidence in myself.”
After completing a successful Summer Associateship with Goodwin Procter, Jacob was offered a full-time job after graduation and planned on moving to New York City next fall. But that wasn’t the end of the story for Jacob.