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Michelle Pham

Balancing Act

By Joy Y. Wang

Fall 2011

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Michelle Pham ’12 believes in giving back. This past year, she helped found the Columbia Law School student organization Empowering Women of Color (EWOC). “We wanted to create a greater network of support for women in the legal profession,” says Pham, who served as the social chair for both EWOC and the Latino/a Law Students Association this past year. “Starting from the ground up was very exciting.”

Over the summer, Pham dove into the world of corporate law with equal enthusiasm and energy. She divided her time between Latham & Watkins’ San Francisco location and the New York City office of Clifford Chance, where she will work as an associate next year. The California native used the bicoastal opportunity as a means of exploring how a career in corporate law can be supplemented by a hefty serving of pro bono projects that are important to her.

At Latham, Pham spent much of her time working on an asylum case involving a domestic violence victim from Mexico. Then, at Clifford Chance, she switched gears and managed transactional issues like equipment leases for the East River Development Alliance.

In the future, Pham hopes that her position in corporate law will allow her to help institutions meaningfully connect with minority communities. “Human rights issues,” she explains, “don’t need to be removed from the business side of
the equation.”

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Photographed by David Yellen