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Onetime Law Firm Gofer Now a Corporate Counsel

Posted Feb 11, 2008 5:35 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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When Ryan Swift got a job as a gofer, making sure the coffee machine was filled and fetching sandwiches for lawyers at Holland & Knight in Atlanta, his mother told him he just needed to get his foot in the door. It turns out she was right.

"I told them I had a paralegal certification," he explains to the Fulton County Daily Report. "After three months, they came to me and said UPS was a client that needed assistance. A paralegal was on maternity leave. Holland & Knight loaned me to UPS. Then UPS hired me as a paralegal."

That was a little over a decade ago. Attending law school at night at Georgia State University School of Law and working full-time at UPS during the day, Swift earned his law degree in 2006 and was admitted to the state bar in 2007. Now he is an in-house lawyer at UPS.

Plus, he has just finished an unusually plum assignment, working for three months at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society after UPS hired him as an in-house lawyer, where he gained valuable trial experience there before moving back to the corporate counsel world.

"I got to do things that probably in this job I would never get to do," he says of his legal aid experience. "That was great coming right out of law school. Even young attorneys who work in law firms don't get to go to court and represent people in the same way."

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