Q&A with Lauren Watanabe, Class of 2020

Q: Tell us about your experience working for Professor Ellias as a CBL Student Fellow and Research Assistant?

A: Professor Ellias’ bankruptcy research was intellectually stimulating. Our group reviewed financial disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We learned how to locate and record a variety of information regarding companies’ financial structures entering and exiting bankruptcy. We left with a strong familiarity with the form and content of these documents, as well as how and why companies structure reorganization proceedings.

Helping the Center for Business Law was a challenging, but rewarding experience. Our group cold-emailed and chatted with hundreds of alumni in business law to be featured on the CBL’s website, wrote news articles about alumni working on high profile business law cases, and assisted with some of the first CBL events.

Q: Tell us about your experience in the CBL’s Corporate Counsel Externship Program (“CCEP”) as an extern for the Oakland Athletics (“A’s”).

A: Such a blast! I am so grateful that the CCEP makes in-house externship opportunities available to students because generally, so little is known amongst students about the realities of in-house lawyering.

My time with the A’s was invaluable. They have an absolutely kick-butt legal team consisting of some of the most focused, driven, intelligent, and organized people I have ever met. They also all happen to be women, so this created a sort of girl power atmosphere that I loved. They took me under their wings and taught me business communication and contract drafting skills. But, more importantly, they taught me about the business of baseball, how the legal department interacts with the rest of the business, and the importance of asserting myself.

Q: Which business law courses did you take, and which would you recommend for students interested in pursuing a career in business law?

A: I took Bankruptcy, Business Associations (required), Contract Writing & Analysis, Federal Income Tax, and Nonprofit Organizations. My decision to take these courses was driven entirely by the professors teaching them.

My recommendation to students is to focus on finding professors who they click with in terms of learning style and personality, rather than selecting business law courses based on the courses’ perceived compatibility with or relevance to their business law careers prospects.

Q: What did you enjoy most about the CBL?

A: The people! Learning about substantive law, networking with alumni in business law were all valuable but making lifelong friendships with my fellow Research Assistants made it all the more sweet.