Jessica Rooke, L'23

Jessica's headshot

The Richmond Law & Business Forum is excited to spotlight our student board members!  This member spotlight features Jessica Rooke, who has helped to organize a number of Forum events including a conversation about representing small businesses and a Business Law over Dinner event featuring lawyers who practice in the area of commercial real estate.

Why did you decide to join the Richmond Law & Business Forum?

I decided to join the Forum to help promote understanding of what business law actually entails for myself, and for my peers now that I am on the board. As a first generation undergraduate and law student, I had absolutely no idea about the many types of practices that fall under this umbrella term of "business law" (i.e. employment law, IP law, tax law, real estate law, etc). But, by joining the Forum I was able to feel more knowledgeable about the business law sector, and get great exposure to a lot of the different practice areas. 

As one of the founding board members of the Richmond Law & Business Forum, what are your goals for the organization?

My goals for the organization somewhat tie into why I joined the forum. Ultimately, I just want to promote a better understanding for law students on what business law is and what the different practice areas are so that they can make more informed decisions regarding employment. In accomplishing this goal the board has planned multiple spotlight events for various practice areas, such as IP law and tax law, which has provided students with insight into topics they may have never even known about! I think this is such an incredible program because it gives students the knowledge to make more informed class selections as well as employment decisions. 

What Forum events did you enjoy the most last year?

I personally have found Intellectual Property Fundamentals with Professor Gibson to be so interesting. The topic of intellectual property is extremely relevant to everyday life which makes the cases and information you are learning that much more fun. Also, Professor Gibson does a great job at tying in real examples of how IP disputes have played out in the world-- he even plays clips of songs to display copyright issues! 

What are your own career goals?

In regards to short-term goals, this coming summer I will work as a summer associate at a local mid-sized firm doing a variety of tasks that incorporate many different practice areas. I hope to get some exposure to employment law, real estate law, and IP law within my practice this summer; these are some of the practice areas I am most interested in. However, because I am a first generation student with little exposure to the practice of law, I am really open to whatever area I find most exciting and fulfilling in-practice. I think it rings true that learning a topic and practicing a topic are two very different things, so I will let my experience this summer guide me to my future practice area! However, in regards to long-term goals, I think eventually I would love to be in-house counsel somewhere, or to open up a business of my own and allow my personal interests and passions to intertwine with my love for the legal field. 

Tell us about your work experience related to business law.

My 1L summer I worked at a small, local firm in Scotts Addition doing mergers & acquisitions as well as some general transactional work. Obviously as a 1L I had very little substantive knowledge compared to the associates and partners at the firm, nonetheless I got to draft a variety of contracts and learn a lot about them along the way. I am so extremely grateful for this opportunity at a small firm in my first summer because it gave me great exposure to the firm lifestyle, as well as great drafting and research experience to speak about in my 2L summer interviews. 

What has been your favorite part of Richmond Law so far?

My favorite part so far has been the classes and the community (student, faculty, and alumni). As nerdy as it sounds, there is something so special and fun about learning information you are seriously interested in and will use in your everyday career one day. This has not only made the rigor of law school bearable, but it also just makes the experience of learning that much more fun and mentally stimulating. Also, the community at Richmond Law is just so amazing. Being in professional school can be intimidating at times and feel very serious, however the faculty and professors make the experience so inviting and familial-- some of my favorite parts of my day are getting to chat with my professors about anything going on in my life or in the world! The student community is also extremely inviting. As a 1L you get so incredibly close to your section (since you're spending many, many hours together), and these friendships I have made I think will last forever personally and professionally.