The daily routine of strolling through metal detectors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York hardly fazed Erik Lindemann ’11. After all, seven years ago, he had top-secret security clearance on one of the world’s largest aircraft carriers, the USS Nimitz.
“I’m used to showing up for work and going through several security checkpoints,” says Lindemann, who worked in the securities and fraud division of the federal prosecutor’s office the summer after his first year at Columbia Law School.
In less than a decade, the New York native has gone from life as a naval officer on the Nimitz—where he slept six inches below a runway for F-18 fighter jets—to that of a law student working on white-collar crime cases and international arbitration. Although Lindemann’s résumé includes an array of adventures and reads like that of a Tom Clancy or John Grisham character, he was excited about returning to academia.
“After being out in the field for so long, it was thrilling to return to a life of intellectual stimulation,” says Lindemann, who spent his final year of law school in England, completing an LL.M. program at the London School of Economics. This fall, he will join Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer’s New York office as part of the international arbitration group. Lindemann spent the summer after his second year with the firm, where he worked on sovereign representation cases and cross-border capital markets transactions.
Armed with an impressive legal education, Lindemann is interested in working someday for the International Criminal Court prosecuting genocide cases, but admits that he is not tied down to one particular plan. “There’s so much you can do with a law degree,” Lindemann says. “I really just want to be prepared for the opportunities when they come along.”