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Asking Strategic Questions – Student Success Story

Christopher Mullen, Class of 2019

Christopher Mullen

Professional experience in commercial real estate and a bond rating agency brought Chris Mullen to law school with a clear sense of direction.  

He knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the transactional arena, shepherding deals from start to finish.  

“In litigation, you can be doing the same thing for years and years,” Mullen said. “Transactional is more cyclical. You're not constantly going through the appeals process. You're finished with the process and then you move onto something new. The deals are unique.” 

The law school’s Business and Entrepreneurial Law program offered precisely the opportunities Mullen sought: competing on the LawMeets team, representing startup owners through the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic and walking into a co-op placement at a high-powered law firm feeling well prepared.  

Professor Karl Okamoto, director of the Business and Entrepreneurship program, employs a teaching style that Mullen said prepared him to function effectively in the high-pressure atmosphere of a firm like Duane Morris. 

“He'll give you the basic information, but it’s up to you to go to him with quality questions,” Mullen said. That method prepared him well for Duane Morris, where the attorneys are often in meetings and not available to answer every question. Mullen had learned to find out as much as he could on his own and to save the important questions for the attorneys who alone could provide the answers.  

Mullen’s tasks at Duane Morris involved corporate litigation, which provided insights that will serve him well in transactional practice.   

“It improved my pace and my overall work product,” Mullen said, adding that it also opened doors.  

Completing a co-op placement at such a big firm added luster to Mullen’s resume – and led to more call-backs from employers.  

“It’s such a good way to differentiate yourself,” said Mullen, who is thrilled to have accepted a job combining real estate with general corporate transactional at the firm where he completed a summer internship, Lauletta Birnbaum.