Ian McDowell, L'22

Ian's headshot

This fall, we will profile some of our student board members.  Ian McDowell is a 3L who was one of the Forum’s founding board members last spring.  He will help plan an event in the spring on representing small businesses, as well as one of our Business Law over Dinner events with securities lawyers. 

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

I joined the forum because I thought it was exciting that there was a student organization that was focused on giving students more insights on life as a business attorney.  I am considering a number of careers relating to business law and I felt that being able to interact with more practitioners would help me narrow down the options to exactly what I want to do.  I also wanted to join because I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet more of my peers with somewhat similar goals and hopefully build connections.  Of course, this has been a challenge due to COVID.

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

I think it's a fantastic organization for students that are interested in business law and my goal as a founding exec has just been to be a good contributor to the organization and to help ensure that the organization continues after I graduate.  I think it is important to have an organization for students interested in business law just as there are organizations for students interested in other areas of the law.

What course related to business law have you found the most interesting? 

I especially enjoyed Business Associations with Professor Lin and Mergers & Acquisitions with Professor Haas.  I have a longstanding interest in the stock market and shareholder litigation and seeing how the law has approached issues surrounding maximizing value for shareholders and related issues was very engaging. I also enjoyed White Collar Crime with Professor Chambers and Internal Corporate Investigations with Professor Hanes.  I think it's important to have a base level of knowledge about that regulatory (and even criminal) risk within a business.  I also took Trademark Law with Professor Gibson and it was fun to see how trademark disputes (and IP disputes more broadly) factor into running or starting a business.

What are your own career goals?

I'm still trying to figure that out myself!  I am open minded and as a result my business-related coursework has been pretty diverse.  While I enjoy IP work, my long-term goal is to work in general corporate or M&A.  My dream job would be to be a general counsel for a large company.

Tell us about any work experience related to business law.

I did an internship last summer (my 1L summer) at a large law firm where my research and work was principally focused on employment law. It was a great experience in terms of learning about employment law from the defense (employer standpoint). For my 2L summer, I worked as a summer associate at a law firm here in Richmond where I focused almost exclusively on trademark practice. It has been a great add-on to my experience in Professor Gibson's class because I have seen first-hand how trademark disputes can become a top-level priority for a business.

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

The professors and the small classroom environment.  The professors here really do care about the students and I prefer having smaller classes than when I was an undergrad at a 20,000 plus person school. It's just a more engaging experience.  
Beyond that, my classmates are extremely friendly people and it has been a privilege to get to know everyone.  The members of my 1L section took the time to stay in touch after COVID hit through weekly virtual happy hours and that meant a lot while I was getting used to life in a pandemic.