The Recorder profiles several members of the latest crop of new partners in California, including Keker & Van Nest's Steven Ragland. "Their stories show there's more than one way to get there, and that it's as much about who you meet and what you learn outside of a law firm or clerkship as it is the time you put in as an associate," writes reporter Amanda Royal.
After college, for example, Mr. Ragland taught for a nonprofit, waited tables, worked as an animal rights activist—which involved travelling around the country with a 7-foot-tall carrot promoting vegetarian meals in schools—and had a stint as a juggling clown. The teaching and clown jobs both provided him "a chance to entertain and to control an audience, to think on your feet, and to be able to maintain the audience's attention. It got me comfortable in front of groups and prepared me for the courtroom," Mr. Ragland, tells The Recorder.
He also describes meeting criminal defense attorney Michael Tigar, who taught a course at American University Washington College of the Law, where Mr. Ragland earned his J.D. in 2002. He decided to stay at American University, rather than try to transfer to a higher-level school as some had encourage him to do. Tigar hired him as of counsel at the Tigar Law Firm after he graduated.
"I always encourage people to explore other options," says Mr. Ragland. "Don't do anything just because you feel like that's the path to success."