Taking law into their own hands
In her first job after graduating from the U of M Law School, Shivani Parikh worked in mergers and acquisitions at the Chicago office of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
That was 2013. Today, Parikh’s resume boasts major strategy and operational positions at Uber, electric scooter-sharing pioneer Bird, and, most recently, BLADE Urban Air Mobility, an aviation company that provides short-distance travel in and out of city centers, primarily via helicopter.
Her law degree has given Parikh a big advantage in the world of tech-based “new economy” startups, where ambiguity reigns supreme.
“You have to be comfortable figuring out solutions,” she says. “You can’t be looking for some kind of playbook, because it just doesn’t exist.”
But Parikh is hardly alone. Take Lina Houston, class of 2014, who moved from public defense work to program director for a reproductive justice nonprofit to a family law practice before landing at Tesla, where she is a senior employee relations partner.
“I would never have expected to work at Tesla or in this field. I didn’t even know this type of work existed,” says Houston, who is part of a team conducting neutral investigations of harassment and other claims.
“Even though I’m now working in a business with 45,000 employees, the heart of my work has the same consistent thread: It’s human-centered and justice-oriented,” she adds. “I make sure people have what they need to feel safe, comfortable, and supported.”
“I didn’t want to just follow the rules. I wanted to ask questions and figure out solutions. I could do that in law school.”
So says Aalok Sharma, class of 2013, who never imagined he would counsel sports businesses—both professional and amateur—on the future of their organizations. But today, as an attorney with Stinson in Minneapolis, he focuses on the rapidly growing fields of competitive sports, legalized sports wagering, and smart venue technology. Last year, the American Bar Association named him a “leading entertainment and sports lawyer of the next generation.”
But these are just some of the stories.