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Academies Pull Back the Curtain and Raise BYU Law’s Profile

October 2019

Grace Nielsen

“They were not billing that time - just doing it from the goodness of their hearts.”

Grace Nielsen (’21) was thoroughly impressed by the attorneys at Kirkland and Ellis who mentored her during the inaugural BYU Law Deals Academy in New York City.

“Those attorneys were extremely enthusiastic about what they did. Their enthusiasm was contagious.”

The week-long, 12-hour-a-day, intensive academy about all things mergers and acquisitions was “100% worth it,” even if it did conflict with the BYU Law Review write on this year, which Nielsen stayed up late and woke up early to complete.

“Honestly, I think the connections I made will end up being more valuable than law review,” she said.

She has already had a networking call with one of the associates she worked with, and an alum who helped coordinate the academy presented her resume to his firm’s hiring committee. Plus, she was able to get an intimate look into the world of private equity that most law students do not get during the summer after their first year.

“It’s hard to know when you are in law school what practice is going to be like,” she said. But she says the academy help “pull back the curtain” and show her how the world works.

“This opened doors to potential employers and practice areas that I didn’t even know existed.”

Academies, like the Deals Academy, are funded by donations, big and small. “I recognize that that money is given with certain expectations about what it’s going to accomplish, and I think that the academies are meeting those expectations.”

“The academies really raise BYU’s profile outside the Wasatch Front.”