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Meet Summer Associate Wafa Kazmi

Meet Summer Associate Wafa Kazmi

Wafa is a rising 3L at Washington University School of Law, where she is active in the school’s Women of Color Law Society, International Law Society, and South Asian Law Society. Previously, she served as a judicial intern to Justice Veronica Rivas Molloy of the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas. She graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

When did you become interested in law?

My undergraduate senior honors thesis was on the Iraq War, which required me to do intensive foreign policy analysis and research into international law—my first-ever exposure to real legal study. While writing my thesis, I was simultaneously working with a volunteer program to help refugee populations resettle and navigate the intricacies of immigration and asylum law, as well as interning with a public policy organization called LinkHouston. All of those experiences in tandem showed me the power of the law, and how it can impact the lives of everyday people.

How did you connect with the firm?

As part of my J.D./LL.M. with a Concentration in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution degree, I’ve enjoyed learning about the arbitration process (international arbitration specifically) and litigation. When looking for summer associate positions, I reached out to my international law professor, who’s based in Houston; he suggested I try SHJ because their lawyers have great experience in both international arbitration and trial law. Coincidentally, the judge I was interning for at the time had also worked with SHJ and strongly encouraged me to pursue a summer position at the firm.

What were your first impressions of the firm?

I had actually considered applying for Big Law positions at first, but the more I talked to the SHJ partners, the more I realized how much I wanted to work in the environment they seemed able to offer. They were so friendly and easy to talk to, and it was clear that the other lawyers at the firm probably had similar demeanors. At the same time, I knew they were all extremely skilled practitioners who had worked on very high-quality, precedent-setting matters.

What’s one thing you hope to get out of your time at SHJ?

More practical, hands-on experience in both trial and arbitration. I’ve learned about those topics and done practicums in school, but getting the opportunity to be involved in cases on the ground and contribute to the firm’s efforts will be really valuable.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’d definitely like to be working in Texas, doing international, energy-related arbitration—hopefully at the partner level, or at least on my way.