Follow your instincts: Eva Kurban

Eva Kurban is a first-year Litigation attorney in Clifford Chance’s Washington, DC office. Initially trained as an accountant, she found the adventure and global vantage she wanted in Big Law, and she shares the fun of it.

Photo credit: Thomas Topinka, Washington DC

I am deeply committed to building a career that is globally focused and intellectually stimulating. This is what led me into the legal profession and to my firm. Its large international reach, in particular, is incredibly appealing to young attorneys like me.

My interest in global issues and law developed early in life. Because of my parents’ work, I grew up in Saudi Arabia and spent a lot of time traveling throughout the Middle East and Europe until age 17, when I moved to Kansas here in the States. In 2012, I started my career in accounting, which I chose as a matter of practicality. That experience was valuable in helping me understand business practices and finance, but I eventually realized that I wanted more of an adventure – so I took my mother’s advice: you’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, listen to your instincts and go do it!

So far, everything I’ve worked on has been really exciting. Yes, you work long hours, but you are dealing with difficult, complex issues, and it’s exciting to figure out the best solution. Our cases often require creative problem solving, and it’s especially great when senior lawyers ask for your views and you can contribute in a meaningful way.

I love talking to people and making friends, which turns out to be useful as a lawyer. Networking allows you to meet interesting people and keeps you up to date on what’s going on in the field. It’s good to connect not just externally, but also within. You spend a lot of time with your colleagues, so it’s natural to be interested in them personally and to care about what’s important to them. People are very accessible here; we have a tight-knit culture.

The firm is focused on integrating technology to create efficiencies for both lawyers and our clients. I can literally plug in my laptop in the Amsterdam office or any other office around the world and just start working. I appreciate that seamlessness, as I think clients do as well. Tech can also significantly reduce the time it takes to complete certain tasks and has adjusted face-time requirements – providing the flexibility to work from home as needed, when circumstances allow.

I think junior lawyers value a sense of opportunity, and I like that there’s some ability to guide your own practice. The first questions I am asked when work is being assigned are: what do you want to work on? and: is there anything you’re particularly interested in? Whether your aspiration is to stay in Big Law for your entire career or to gain experience and transition into another sector, the firm is great about offering diverse exposure to a wide variety of matters and does not require immediate specialization. As a junior lawyer, that’s a nice environment to be in.