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Pulling Back the M&A Curtain

February 2020

The sun shines over the mountains behind the J. Reuben Clark Law School.

Law student Grace Nielsen had the chance to be mentored by the attorneys at Kirkland & Ellis, the largest law firm in the United State by revenue, as part of the first-ever BYU Law Deals Academy in New York City.

Academies are off-site, short-term, highly focused opportunities for students to be immersed in some aspect of the law.

Despite the 12-hour days, Nielsen says that the intensive weeklong academy on mergers and acquisitions was 100 percent worth it. “The attorneys were extremely enthusiastic about their work,” she says. “Their enthusiasm was contagious. They were not billing their time—they were just doing it from the goodness of their hearts.”

Nielsen was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of private equity that most law students do not get in the summer of their first year. Since being in New York, she has networked with an associate at the firm, and, through an alum, she submitted her résumé to another firm’s hiring committee.

Nielsen says the academy helped “pull back the curtain” and show her how the world of mergers and acquisitions works. She says, “This opened doors to potential employers and practice areas that I didn’t even know existed.”

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