Mary Kate Sheridan

Mary Kate Sheridan

Mary Kate is Vault's Senior Law Editor. She holds a JD from Columbia Law School, an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School, and a BA in English from Mary Washington College. Mary Kate covers legal careers, the legal industry, and general career advice. Previously, Mary Kate worked as a litigator at a Vault 100 law firm.

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All Posts by Mary Kate Sheridan

Holiday Billable Blues

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  November 19, 2018

The clock is ticking down to sweet holiday freedom. You can practically smell your family's home-cooked feast from your office, and the thought of abandoning billable hours for a day is making you giddy. And then it happens-the most dreaded pre-holiday sound. Your office phone rings. You've been assigned to an emergency matter and must drop everything to help, including your holiday plans.As many lawyers know, holiday work isn't just a plot line to escalate the drama in movies. When a... Read More >

The One Mistake to Avoid When Studying for Law School Finals

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  November 14, 2018

When I was in law school, I had a final exam routine-from the types of study materials I made and my process for studying them, all the way down to the type of drink I'd bring into the test room and the music I'd listen to right before the test. Some called it crazy; I called it self preservation. Whatever you call it, it worked for me, and the familiarity helped me curb my stress. I learned early on in law school-during midterms-just how hysterical law students can get during exams. Rather... Read More >

Dealing with a Difficult Law Firm Partner

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  November 12, 2018

We've all heard the stories of partners from hell-nightmarish tales of screaming; belittling; and throwing staplers, files, or whatever else is handy. If you're a law firm associate, you may understand the plight of working with a difficult partner all too well. Shouting and other inappropriate behavior may not even be involved; rather, a partner's relentless demand for your time, general lack of respect, and dissatisfaction with anything but utter perfection can turn an associate's life... Read More >

Misconceptions About Being a Litigator

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  November 07, 2018

When people think of lawyers-especially litigators-they often envision romanticized versions from the media: dramatic closings before a jury, discovery of a loophole with minutes to spare, or heated battles with adversaries. They don't tend to think of the day-to-day work of a litigator, which requires a range of skills and planning to provide the best advocacy for clients. On the flipside, law students frequently believe they'll be locked away clicking on documents all day and never see... Read More >

Four Steps to Take Before Quitting the Legal Profession

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  October 29, 2018

You slogged through three years of law school, went through bar-exam hell, and have logged more hours at your firm than you knew existed in a day. And now you've realized you don't want to be a lawyer. I know what you're thinking-and what everyone who has an opinion is telling you: All of that time, money, and effort for nothing.But it isn't for nothing. Take it from a former practicing attorney who went down an alternative path. Legal skills are highly transferrable to a number of other... Read More >

National Pro Bono Week: A Glimpse At the Top 5 Law Firms for Pro Bono

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  October 24, 2018

It’s National Pro Bono Week! Legal organizations, law schools, and bar associations around the country are celebrating the enormous contributions that lawyers make to pro bono daily. This year is particularly special because it marks the 10th year of ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service's (The Committee) National Celebration of Pro Bono. According to Read More >

Five Tips for Crafting a Compelling Legal Cover Letter

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  October 22, 2018

You've found your dream law firm, and now you need to figure out how to get in the door. One major road block is in your way: the dreaded cover letter. The last thing you want to do is write generic, canned drivel and sound like every other applicant. But this is a law firm-you don't want to stray so far outside the box that you appear unprofessional. What should you do? Four words: think like a lawyer. Use the same skills you would use to win a moot court competition, draft a compelling... Read More >

Best Law Firms by Region

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  October 08, 2018

Sometimes, choosing a law firm hinges on its location-whether for industry focus, particular career goals, family, or other personal reasons, you may be committed to a specific location. When searching for a law firm, it is important to understand the leaders in your market as at least one factor in your decision-making process. Last week, we shared Vault's 2019 Best Law Firms in New York City. In addition to the Big Apple, Vault's Annual Assoc Read More >

Targeted Questions to Ask During Your Law Firm Job Interview

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  October 03, 2018

There is one question you can expect during every law firm job interview: Do you have any questions for me? Your answer should always be "yes." Coming prepared with questions demonstrates your interest in the firm and commitment to your career. Plus, this part of the interview is a valuable opportunity for you to learn more about the firm and assess whether it's the best fit for your long-term goals and personality.Brainstorm questions that touch upon your career priorities, biggest... Read More >

The Best Law Firms in New York

by Mary Kate Sheridan  |  September 28, 2018

Vault's regional rankings are based on ratings from associates who work in each specific region. Associates rate the reputatons of peer firms in their own region only. This year's regional rankings include the following locations: Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Miami; the Mid-Atlantic; Midwest; Mountain States; New York City; Northern California; the Pacific Northwest; Southern California; Texas; and Washington, DC. Read More >

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