All legal fields connected by ‘seamless web,’ alums tell students

Gordon Arnold ’88 (left), Eva F. O’Brien ’85 and Denis Braham ’79 talk over the career advice they just shared with a roomful of Law Center students as part of the “Day in the Life” lecture series sponsored by the Houston Law Alumni Association.

Gordon Arnold ’88 (left), Eva F. O’Brien ’85 and Denis Braham ’79 talk over the career advice they just shared with a roomful of Law Center students as part of the “Day in the Life” lecture series sponsored by the Houston Law Alumni Association.

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 Accomplished alumni who are practicing in three distinct areas told Law Center students during the “Day in the Life” speaker series to be open to all aspects of the law because each field is ultimately interconnected to others in “a seamless web.”

Rather than agonizing over course selections and their impact on a legal career, the veteran lawyers advised students to go where their interests and passions lie – and boldly take a few courses off the beaten path because nearly all disciplines eventually overlap. “Any class that stretches your brain is going to make you a better lawyer,” said Gordon Arnold ’88, an intellectual property attorney with Arnold & Knobloch LLP. Denis Braham ’79, who practices real estate law and is chairman and CEO of Winstead, agreed, saying his work with developers requires expertise in such varied fields as health law, energy, environmental and public finance.  “There isn’t one course taught here that doesn’t touch on real estate development,” he declared.  Eva F. O’Brien ’85 of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, echoed his comments, noting her field of environmental law crosses all disciplines from regulatory to litigation and contracts and even criminal.

Addressing the question that was on every student’s mind, the three suggested hot career fields – with possibly more job opportunities – currently include bankruptcy, litigation, energy, environmental and, with the aging of the baby boomers, health care. Noting that he came into the job market during the downturn of the late 1980s, Arnold said, “We all survived; we found something to do, and so will you.” Another product of the ’80s, O’Brien smiled at her two colleagues and then reassured students, “We all did pretty well.”

The discussion was the final presentation in the lecture series sponsored by the Houston Law Alumni Association.

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