Corporate Counsel, Liberty Tax Service, Virginia Beach
Mykell Messman is a 2009 graduate of the Regent School of Law, currently working as Corporate Counsel for Liberty Tax in Virginia Beach. From her early days as a student, Mykell has seen the benefits that professional networking can have on a career, and she continues to attend networking events each month to stay connected with other attorneys.
As a first-year law student (1L), Mykell worked as a GA in the School of Law's Career and Alumni Services office, where she was careful to always dress professionally and take her work seriously. Part of her job was to assist guest speakers at school events. Working with a group of guests that included a number of local attorneys and judges, Mykell inquired of the chief judge of the Juvenile & Domestic Relations (JDR) Court of Chesapeake about internship opportunities there. While the judge initially said there were no internships available, he later offered her an internship position after observing her work ethic, professional attire and attitude, and dedication to excellence. Her relationships at the JDR court later helped her obtain an internship at the Commonwealth Attorney's office as a 3L.
Mykell's advice on networking? "Always be prepared; always dress the part. If you are trying to stand out from all the other people in your field, you must always be prepared to meet your next employer. You never know when you are going to get the opportunity to make an impression. In any opportunity you're given, whether in an official networking event or anywhere- always be the first to introduce yourself and make yourself available for conversation."
At networking events, Mykell encourages students to branch out from those they know well: "What I've seen is that students will come in a group and stay in a group, due to anxiety or self-consciousness. Branch outside of your comfort zone, make yourself available for conversation, and let others get to know you."
Her final encouragement to students is to remember that "there's only so much that classes can offer you. Eighty percent of all jobs are never posted. The day you start law school is the day you should begin networking and begin building your circle of relationships."