Career Change, Accelerated
Andrea Filbeck, Class of 2023
When the world paused during the pandemic in 2020, Andrea Filbeck used some of the downtime to reconsider her career path. A senior accountant for a major firm in Ohio, she decided to pivot to business law, where her accounting skills would still be useful. She found the best path forward at Drexel’s Kline School of Law.
The law school’s accelerated JD program will allow Filbeck to shift lanes into a career in law quickly, through two years of continuous study.
Now in her second year, Filbeck focuses on transactional law, which builds on her business background and love of entrepreneurship. Similar to accounting, Filbeck said transactional law is widely applicable across firms, companies and government organizations.
“While it’s a very technical process where you’re learning very specific things, statutes, cases, it’s still something you can take with you in every part of your life,” she said. “The law is everywhere.”
Courses such as Business Organizations expanded upon Filbeck’s accounting knowledge. She learned about the characteristics of business formations, such as partnerships, corporations and LLCs, while in college, but her professors in law school taught her how to establish these types of companies legally and delved into the legal reasoning behind each one.
“It’s a great example of how my background gave me foundational knowledge but Drexel gave me more depth,” she said.
Filbeck’s experience was similar when she studied Federal Income Tax. Whereas her undergraduate background focused on tax returns from a technical standpoint, law classes dove into underlying codes and case law to explain the legal reasoning behind filing returns in specific instances.
Another reason Filbeck chose Drexel’s Kline School of Law is because of its Business and Entrepreneurship program, which suits Filbeck’s career aspirations. For example, Filbeck served as an international tax intern at Deloitte during a summer internship. The experience allowed her to apply skills she learned in her legal research and analysis classes at Drexel Kline Law, from summarizing tax law cases in plain language to assisting with tax returns for foreign partnerships and corporations.
“All of my classes have helped me shape my way of thinking into a more analytical mindset that I can apply to any situation,” she said.
Although the accelerated JD program moves at a brisk pace, Filbeck said she feels well-adjusted to both her immediate cohort and the rest of the student body. Students enrolled in the two-year JD program begin class in the summer, when the law school’s halls are relatively quiet. Filbeck said this afforded her time to grow close with her cohort members through group projects and study. When the rest of the student body returned a few weeks later, Filbeck said she connected with a new group of people.
The quick tempo of the accelerated track might not be for everyone, but Filbeck said her organizational skills—including managing her schedule in spreadsheets—have helped her balance coursework with relaxation and family.
Filbeck even made time to study abroad. She spent a week learning about European Union laws in Rennes, France, in a one-credit course taught by professors Robert Field and Clare Coleman. Along the way, Filbeck ventured with her classmates to the medieval cathedral in Mont San Michel, a world heritage site located on a tidal island off of Normandy.
“It’s something I would never do on my own because it’s so out of the way,” Filbeck said.
Filbeck’s goal after graduation is to land a job in the Philadelphia area that would allow her to use both her accounting and legal background, ideally with a client-focused or mission-driven organization.
“Both business and the law can be confusing and overwhelming, so I hope to serve by helping figure out those confusing parts and making both more accessible to others,” she said.
Currently, Filbeck is an intern at DLA Piper in Philadelphia, Pa.