Firas Adam Abulawi
The University of Texas School of Law
Hometown: Houston, TX
Undergraduate School: University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business
Undergraduate Major and Minor: B.B.A. in Accounting, Middle Eastern Studies minor, magna cum laude
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:
– Chief Financial Officer, Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, & Energy Law, 2015-2016
– Teaching Quizmaster, Legal Research & Legal Writing Teaching Assistant for Professor Bridges, 2015-2016
– Student Attorney, Equal Justice Center/Transnational Worker Rights Clinic, 2015
– 1L Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Scholar, Dallas, TX, 2014
– Sidley Austin 1L Diversity Summer Mentorship Program, Houston, TX, 2014
– Highest Grade in Energy Law
– UT School of Law Scholarship, 2015-2016
– Defense Research Institute Law Student Diversity Scholarship, 2015
– Association of International Petroleum Negotiators Student Scholarship, 2015
– Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Scholarship, 2015
– Energy & Mineral Law Foundation Scholarship, 2015
– Ernest & Paula Smith Energy Law Scholarship, 2015
Where have you interned during law school?
Baker Botts LLP, Houston, TX, 2015
Vinson & Elkins LLP, Houston, TX, 2014 & 2015
Locke Lord LLP, Houston, TX, 2014
What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? Upon graduating from law school in 2016, I will be joining Cravath, Swaine & Moore as a Corporate Associate in the firm’s New York office. Under the Cravath System, I will continuously complete 12-16 month rotations in several practice groups within the Corporate Department—including mergers and acquisitions, securities, and commercial banking—in order to be fully versed in all facets of the corporate practice.
Why did you choose to attend law school? Growing up, I didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue. I decided to major in Accounting in undergrad because I knew it would give me solid business acumen in whatever I chose to do in the future. However, in hindsight, it seems that I was unintentionally groomed to go to law school by my father. He owns a convenience store, and given his inadequacies in English and lack of expertise with American customs, I regularly helped him with countless tasks such as drafting letters and emails, renewing licenses, and researching contracts and leases for various engagements. At one point during my post-secondary education, I was aiding my father in navigating a legal claim against his business and worked closely with a lawyer he had hired. The process of creating arguments, supporting those arguments with factual information and legal precedent, and advising clients engaged me in ways accounting never did. Ultimately, it was this incident that inspired me to pursue a career in law.
What was your favorite law school class? Although my future practice revolves around corporate law, my favorite law school class has been the Supreme Court Seminar with Professor Lawrence Sager, former dean of the law school. I joined eight colleagues acting as Supreme Court Justices and took up a set of nine cases then pending before the Supreme Court of the United States. We deliberated on the basis of the actual briefs and lower court records and decided the cases as the court would. During our semester, we tackled the same sex marriage cases, a case regarding the interpretation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act (King v. Burwell), and a complex racial gerrymandering claim (ALBC v. Alabama), among others. What was most interesting, however, was comparing our decisions to that of the Supreme Court’s weeks after we had our final conferences. Unsurprisingly, we often did not see eye to eye with the Supreme Court’s views.
What have you enjoyed most about law school? Prospective law students hear this endlessly, but law school teaches students to think in ways they never have before. That is, to think like a lawyer. What I have enjoyed most about law school is repeatedly delving into new areas of the law with each passing semester, thereby arming myself with knowledge on how people, organizations, and societies are regulated, governed, and interact with one another. To attend law school is to properly arm yourself with tools to assist in navigating the intricacies of an ever-evolving life.
What word best describes your professional brand? Tenacious. Whether tackling an upcoming deadline or my short or long-term goals, I will achieve them (perhaps with mistakes and lessons learned along the way, but if somebody else can do it, why can’t I?).
“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…I realized I was acting as my father’s unofficial lawyer over the course of years throughout my childhood.”
“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…I am extremely grateful that I chose to go to law school, and I never think about what I would be doing otherwise.”
Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? Receiving recognition for achieving the top grade in a class full of some of the most intelligent people I have ever met is quiet an honor. Being the first in my family to attend college, independently navigating the challenges of law school, and beginning my career at one of the most venerable law firms of our nation is another.
Fun fact about yourself: I have lived the entirety of my life in Texas, and haven’t remotely felt temperatures even in the single digits. New York will be quite an experience.
Favorite book: 1984 by George Orwell
Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction (1994) & Crash (2004)
What are your hobbies? In my free time, I am an avid traveler, frequent runner (of short distances), dessert enthusiast, and devoted fan of The Office, though suggestions on broadening my horizons are always welcome.