7/27/21 - News
Meet Cassidy Viser
SHJ is proud to welcome our largest-ever class of summer associates to the firm.
Cassidy Viser is a rising 3L at Georgetown University Law Center, where she is an executive editor of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy. Her legal experience includes two clerkships: one with the Federal Tort Claims Act Section of the Department of Justice, Civil Division, and one for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She holds an M.Arch II from Harvard University and a B.Arch from Cornell University.
When did you know you wanted to pursue law? How did your architecture background inform your decision?
When I did my bachelor’s in architecture at Cornell, I worked on a bunch of different humanitarian projects, mostly in urban planning, and became really interested in their policy implications. While I continued that kind of work when I went to Harvard for my master’s (including urban development projects in Bangladesh and Angola), I also started taking classes at Harvard Law School. At that point I realized I could channel my policy aspirations into a law career.
My background has definitely enhanced my lawyering abilities. Not a lot of people know this, but the architecture curriculum is actually very debate-heavy. You have to defend your work in front of jury panels several times a week, which has been excellent on-your-feet training for the legal profession. There’s also a lot of client communication required in architecture, so I’m used to dealing with clients and making sure their needs are met.
How did you connect with SHJ?
After I went through the OCI process at Georgetown this year, I got a couple Big Law offers that I was considering. But the more I asked around and talked to people about my options, the more I found that I probably wasn’t going to be able to get hands-on experience right out of the gate at Big Law. I started looking at smaller litigation boutiques and found SHJ. They seemed like they could offer all the resources and expertise you’d get at a big firm, but in a much more intimate setting where immediate hands-on experience was actually feasible.
What is your day-to-day like? How are you finding the work and the culture?
I just finished up my first week, and it’s been great so far. They’re a tight-knit group and extremely down to earth. I feel very comfortable going into a partner’s office to ask if they have anything to assign.
The breadth of work I’ve been exposed to in a single week is pretty incredible. I’ve already dug into six or seven ongoing cases in a variety of practice areas and sectors.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to have many cases under my belt as a litigator and be a partner (or on the partner track) at a good firm. I think my time as a summer associate at SHJ is a great stepping stone toward this goal. One of the things that drew me to the firm was the clear potential for young, ambitious associates to get involved in business development, which is something I’m keenly interested in. I don’t want to just sit on the sidelines being handed assignments; I want to play an active role at my firm. Seeing the responsibility SHJ associates are allowed to take on has been really motivating.