June 2015 Alumni Highlight

Ian Connett '11Ian Connett (’11) grew up in Westchester and had a strong New York-based network.  He knew that he wanted to live and work in the New York City area so, when it came time to apply to law school, Pace was a clear favorite.  As an international studies major at Trinity College, Ian had an idea that he wanted to be a lawyer but, when he graduated, he wasn’t 100 percent sure.  As a result, he worked for a year as a paralegal at Dechert LLP in Philadelphia, focusing on white collar and securities litigation.  That year reaffirmed his desire to attend law school and he was accepted into Pace. 

Through Ian’s entire first year of law school, he was convinced that he wanted to be a JAG lawyer and enlist in the military. It was the Pace Law career fair during his second year that he changed his mind.  Growing up in Westchester, Ian had a good handle on the companies in the surrounding area. However, at the career fair, he was introduced to a company that he was unfamiliar with and interested him – Westcon Group. 

In the summer of 2010, Ian participated in Professor Kenneth Coughlin’s Corporate Externship Program where law students receive credit in exchange for real in-house law experience. That summer, Ian worked for Westcon and the opportunity shaped his post law school career.

During his time at Westcon, Ian shadowed their in-house attorneys and learned how an in-house lawyer functions and works. He performed M&A work, negotiated corporate and cloud computing transactions, drafted corporate policies, and more. After that summer, he left feeling as though he had found his calling and knew what he wanted to do. While at Westcon, Ian also developed many great mentor relationships.

After graduating from Pace in 2011, Ian went on to work at Harris Beach PLLC in White Plains for a year.  However, he stayed in touch with his colleagues at Westcon and when there was an opening a year later, Ian applied and was offered the position. He is confident that he received the opportunity to work as an in-house counsel quickly after law school because of his participation in the Corporate Externship program at Pace.  During his summer at Westcon, he learned the inner workings of the business and had a “leg up” when it came time to fill the in-house position. Ian is grateful to Pace and Professor Coughlin, who he notes has been a mentor to him, for creating this program and providing this opportunity for law students. Today, Ian is thrilled with his position at Westcon (a multi-billion dollar technology company) as Corporate Counsel, supporting Westcon’s Cloud and Global Deployment Solutions teams. He is also responsible for, among other things, supporting Westcon’s IT Department and mitigating compliance risk under data privacy and information security regulations.

Ian believes there is an untapped opportunity for law students to obtain in-house positions quickly after law school in today’s changing economy. “Business is global. Large organizations have a real need and demand for lawyers with a broad set of skills.” These skills, he notes, are best obtained by working “in the field” in programs like Pace’s Corporate Externship Program. He goes on to state that, especially in the tech field, the demand is growing. “Pace has a special opportunity being so close to New York City and Silicon Alley – a technology hub.  There are also many large companies moving to Westchester.  Pace is perfectly situated to place talented law students at these organizations.” Ian’s company recently hired a Pace student for the summer, one who had previously completed the spring Corporate Externship with Westcon and went on to receive this opportunity.

Ian lives in the Rivertowns and in his spare time he loves to travel, play guitar, and is trying to learn yoga! He is reachable at ianconnett@gmail.com to connect with any students or alumni with questions about the job market, Pace’s technology network, or law school in general.