Texas A&M School of Law grad Serech Kissire ’20 was searching for a job after graduation, and he reached out to Travis Patterson (UT Law ’12) and asked him to pass on his resume. Patterson was happy to advocate for Kissire as Patterson and his colleague Tennessee Walker ’05 (Baylor Law ’08) had served as adjunct faculty members for a class that Kissire had taken at the law school. Not long after the conversation, Patterson’s and Walker’s firm, the Patterson Law Group in Fort Worth realized they had a need to add an additional lawyer to the firm. They looked no further as they knew that Kissire was the one for the job. He asked great questions, and they knew his dedication to his craft as a student. There was no doubt that he would be a great fit for the firm. Rumor has it that Kissire didn’t have to sit for an interview, and some say that no one has actually seen his resume. Kissire’s track record as a student spoke for itself and he was hired.
Walker got the idea to teach a class when he attended a Tarrant County Young Lawyers event. The event program featured a panel of current lawyers answering questions posed by law students about life in the real world as a lawyer. After the event was over, Walker couldn’t help but think there was more to this topic. He spoke with Patterson about creating a class for Texas A&M School of Law. Together, they developed a course plan that focused on teaching law students how to use their built-in skillset that involves using technology to benefit their clients and further their careers. In the course, students learned the benefits of using modern thinking and technology for, among other things, client communications, gathering evidence, working a case up for trial, evidence presentation, brand building and business development. Using technology, a young lawyer can get information much faster – in a matter of hours, where it might take an older lawyer much longer using traditional methods such a hiring an investigator versus conducting an internet search. After presenting their idea to the law school leadership, Practical Lawyering with Modern Technology was offered in the fall of 2019 and again in the fall of 2020.
When preparing for his final year in law school, Kissire saw that Patterson’s and Walker’s class was being offered. Curious, he reached out to them to get an overview of the class. In an internship, he learned that firms often don’t implement technology in the ways they could, so he found the duo’s topic intriguing. He knew they were some of the best in the business in personal injury and he wanted an opportunity to learn from the approachable duo.
According to Patterson, most firms wait until six months after they need another lawyer to hire a new one, and by the time they do, they are scrambling to get someone with experience. Firms typically want someone with three to seven years of experience, so they pass on young lawyers.
“Texas A&M Law recent graduates are a treasure trove of great applicants for local law firms especially in the COVID job market. The recent grads can help firms embrace new technology, can take their skills into the future and can help the firm cut salary expenses,” says Patterson. There is a learning curve in terms of getting young lawyers trained, but the time spent is worth the investment. Patterson noted that lawyers have to learn to adapt and do things better. COVID is teaching lawyers just that. Now more than ever, firms are relying on technology and video calls to conduct business. Even the court systems have gone virtual.
When asked what his advice would be to members of the class of 2021 as they job search, Kissire replied, “Don’t be afraid to use Indeed, Zip Recruiter and others even though the firms want a lawyer with more years of experience.”
He also noted that recent law school graduates should capitalize on their technologically-savvy generational skills and sell them more. He appreciated that Patterson and Walker were willing to listen to his ideas and valued his input. Kissire advises firms to think outside the box and take a risk on a recent graduate that may service clients and bring innovation to the firm. They won’t be disappointed.
Texas A&M Law is committed to ensuring that students are being exposed to real world practitioners and current trends. The law school cares about creating lawyers who are prepared for the real world and real-life scenarios.