2016 Was the Year of Changes

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Christmas Letter

If I were to pick one phrase to describe the past year, it would be “The Year of Changes.”

On the professional front, I left Shearman & Sterling in May after seven and a half years at the firm in order to join Amazon in Japan. The jump from being an experienced lawyer at a mega law firm to a first-time in-house lawyer at an IT company has brought major changes to my life, the most obvious manifestation of which is an improved work-life balance. On the personal front, I lost a family member when my grandmother died at the age of 92 in October, but I will soon have two family members living much closer to me as my mother and sister decided to move back to Japan after all the years living in the U.S.

As I look back on the eventful past year, I’m reminded of the old saying, “All good things must come to an end.”

 

Reflections on My Time at Shearman & Sterling

After seven and a half years at the firm, this is my last week at Shearman & Sterling. It’s been an amazing run.

When I look back on my time at the firm, I realize how tremendously blessed I’ve been.

In the headline making deals that my friends and family recognized, I’ve been blessed with a sense of accomplishment.

In the nearly sixty matters I’ve worked on spanning Capital Markets, M&A, Asset Management and even Litigation, I’ve been blessed with the experience I’ve gained.

In the access to the firm’s global knowledge and vast resources, I’ve been blessed with the support system that made my job incalculably easier.

In the two luxury watches I never dreamed I’d be able to afford, I’ve been blessed financially.

But above all, I’ve been blessed with the people I’ve worked with.

 

A New Beginning

This Friday will be my last day at Shearman & Sterling. After seven and a half years, the time is right for me to move on.

When I reflect on my time at Shearman & Sterling, I realize how tremendously fortunate I have been.

I once heard that the average length of a career at a major law firm like Shearman is two and a half years. That may be a little too short, but if the actual length of service is anywhere near that, I’ve managed to beat the average by a couple years.

That’s all you need to know how happy I’ve been with the firm.

 

What I Know About Being an Attorney, I Learned from The Honorable Peter E. Doyne

As much as I learned from the judge the heavy demands of the profession, the far more important lesson I learned was what a model jurist looks like. In the way Judge Doyne went about his work, day in and day out, in chambers and on the bench, he taught me how a diligent, capable, moral and respectful lawyer should conduct himself as an attorney privileged to be a part of any bar, not just in the state of New Jersey. That Judge Doyne oversaw his cases capably there is little doubt, but what made the judge exemplary was much more than how he dispensed justice. In his diligence to review every submission made to the court, in the fairness he bestowed upon every litigant and in the respect he showed to every attorney who appeared before him, he exhibited the best of what the judiciary has to offer. I am now in a field of law as far away from litigation as a lawyer can be, but in how I am to conduct myself as an attorney, Judge Doyne will always serve as my model.

 

2014 Was An Uneventfully Fulfilling Year

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Christmas Letter

It is hard to believe, but this past September marked three years since I transferred to Tokyo. I am entering my seventh year with my current employer, meaning that I have now worked in the Tokyo office longer than I did in New York.

How time flies.

Life is interesting in that you remember important milestones in your life, no matter how long ago. I first moved to the United States when I was eight years old, and I still vividly recall the mixed emotions I felt eight years later when I reached a point when more than half of my life was spent in the United States. Now that I have reached a similar milestone, this time professionally, I feel nostalgic going through similar mixed feelings I felt so many years ago.

Apart from going through a major milestone, my 2014 has been uneventfully fulfilling, both in and outside of work.

 

To Underclassmen Eagles: Make Not Just Friends, But Friends Who Are Different

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Letter to an Eagle

Why a friendship was formed may often be amorphous, but there is one certainty about the how: you can only become friends with people you know. And that means that now, and for only the next few years while you are in college, you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become friends with the most unexpected people.

It’s just a fact of life that after graduation, the people you’ll become friends with are those with whom you share something significant. If you become a doctor, most of your friends will probably be doctors, nurses and others who are in the healthcare profession. If you proceed to graduate school in philosophy, you’ll probably become close with other philosophers who’ll understand your Satre-like pontification on the meaning of grass. If you end up as a wine connoisseur, you’ll likely find that you’re spending much of your free time with other wine snobs.

The friends you make in college needn’t be so obvious and predictable, for in college, you are surrounded with people who are different from who you are and who you will become. This, of course, is the by-product of an academic institution’s conscious effort to make the student body as diverse as possible. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find anything remotely similar at places you’ll be after graduation, when you’ll be in an environment that is likely to be, either unconsciously or deliberately, homogenous in skill, personality or thinking.

 
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