During the two years David Shapiro ’14 worked as a credit analyst at the investment bank Barclays Capital, he became intrigued with how often business intersected with the law. That curiosity motivated the former Fulbright Scholar to search for ways to further his education in both fields. After learning about Columbia Law School’s Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program, Shapiro was confident the curriculum would allow him to build on his existing business knowledge while expanding his awareness of law.
“Business and law, I think, are intimately related,” he says. “I knew that getting a J.D./M.B.A. would give me the skills and enough—for lack of a better term—arrows in my quiver to be a threat in any situation I’d encounter going forward.”
As a first-year student, Shapiro gained valuable insights on how the law influences business relationships while taking Professor Robert J. Jackson Jr.’s Corporations course. After completing the rigorous coursework, Shapiro went on to serve as Professor Jackson’s teaching assistant. “Developing my relationship with him was one of my most rewarding experiences,” Shapiro says.
Shapiro spent the summer after his first year as part of the Skadden 1L Scholars Program, an internship where law students work at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and then transition to a firm client (some participants also work at a public interest organization). “It allowed me to interact with the firms’ attorneys and learn so much about how law firms operate and how deals get done,” Shapiro says about his time working within the firm’s mergers and acquisitions group, along with other practice areas.
Shapiro returned to his hometown of Washington, D.C., to work in the distressed hedge fund of the financial firm Millstein & Co. in the summer of 2013. His experience there confirmed to Shapiro that he wants to continue working in a similar environment for years to come. And, with knowledge of the law, Shapiro says he can leverage his experience within the business sector.
“I love how the law sets up the rules of the game,” he says, “and business considerations can create value in any enterprise, whatever it might be.”