NOT BILLABLE

Going VC with James Walker

Episode Summary

On this episode of Not Billable, we sat down and chatted with James Walker, Associate Counsel and Investments at Draper Associates (an investor of Lawtrades), a venture capital firm run founded and managed by Tim Draper.

Episode Notes

On this episode of Not Billable, we sat down and chatted with James Walker, Associate Counsel and Investments at Draper Associates (an investor of Lawtrades), a venture capital firm run founded and managed by Tim Draper.

James shares his experience getting his MBA/JD through the J-Term program at Columbia University and what it was like to pivot from Big Law at Latham & Watkins into a hybrid business legal role at Draper Associates.

Working at Latham & Watkins

James started his career as an associate attorney at Big Law firm, Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins is institution in the legal industry and a well known player in the emerging companies space.

While in this role, James gained valuable experience and skills that he still uses today.

The J-Term Program at Columbia University

After more than 2 years in Big Law, James decided to pivot and get his MBA.

James ended up applying to the impressive J-Term MBA program at Columbia University, which would give him the ability to earn his graduate degree in just 18 months (instead of 2 years).

Unfortunately, when James was set to graduate in 2020, COVID-19 hit the United States.

James needed to pivot fast.

Draper Associates

James ended up reaching out to Tim Draper to see if any of his portfolio companies needed legal counsel.

Instead of referring James out, Tim decided to bring him on to help save on legal expenses.

Eventually that role evolved into much more of a hybrid of business and legal.

James is now more of a 1/2 internal counsel, 1/2 strategic business advisor.

Closing Thoughts

Big law firms can offer many opportunities and experiences, but it’s not the only path a lawyer can take.

In-house legal is a dual-hat wearing role (law and business).

By regularly evaluating your skills and interests and seeking out opportunities to grow and develop, you can determine where you are most useful in your legal role.