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Living, studying and working on both sides of the Atlantic brought German-born Yannick Adler ’13 to big-law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where he bridges law and finance.
Born in Darmstadt, Germany, Adler spent three childhood years in Columbia, Maryland before graduating from high school in Germany; then he graduated from the University of Bielefeld with a degree in economics (major) and German law (minor).
“I went to law school because I enjoyed my minor in German law and found it quite stimulating, intellectually,” he said, adding that he thought initially he’d work in finance. “I always considered my interests to be on the business and financial side of things. While in college, I interned in the accounting division of a German mid-cap company and worked as teaching assistant for math and accounting courses.”
Adler chose Albany Law School for its
joint J.D./M.B.A. program. “In addition, Albany Law was extremely helpful with my visa application and the related procedures. I generally had the feeling that I was well taken care of and could focus on studying while in the U.S.”
Even then, however, he hadn’t charted a career path.
“When I started law school, I did not have a firm idea what I wanted to do with my law degree,” Adler said, concerned initially about how he’d perform academically. “However, after the grades for the first semester were out, I felt quite comfortable and started focusing on career goals. At that time I also applied to the M.B.A. program as I was then convinced that I could handle both successfully.”
Even though the global financial crisis was still looming, his goal was to find opportunities in an investment bank, a large multi-national law firm, or an international consulting firm.
“My professors provided me with valuable contacts within and outside of Albany — many of whom I am still in contact with today.”
“I knew that two of the few ways to practice U.S. law in Germany or outside of the U.S. was to practice international arbitration or capital markets law,” he said, explaining that he enrolled in capital markets and corporate classes. “Focusing on capital markets law was aligned with my undergraduate degree’s focus on financial markets, my focus on investment classes in business school, and my general interests."
His first impressions of Albany centered on the law school.
“My first impressions were great,” Adler recalled. “The buildings are impressive, the grounds are well kept and the general feeling you
get from visiting is very pleasant.”
Graduating in the summer of 2013, he passed the bar and moved to Frankfurt, Germany with his wife and two children, both born in Albany.
“I started with Allen & Overy LLP (one of the British ‘magic circle’ firms) in their U.S. capital markets group,” Adler said. “I spent a year there, before my team moved to White & Case, at which time I got contacted by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and they quite easily convinced me to move to their corporate group in London.”
“My school experience with economics, foreign law, U.S. law and an M.B.A. from Union have all prepared me for what I am doing now,” he added. “I am working at the intersection of law and finance, and somehow it has all come together quite nicely.”
At Albany Law School, “I enjoyed most of my classes, including the corporate and securities courses taught by Prof. Redwood and Prof. Chung,” said Adler. “I also enjoyed my ethics class with Prof. Connors and my first year torts course with Prof. Heverly. ... I had to get used to the Socratic method, though, maybe because I did not trust my public speaking in a foreign language. It took me about half a year to be really comfortable with speaking in class.”
Adler said, “During law school, my professors provided me with valuable contacts within and outside of Albany — many of whom I am still in contact with today.”
Tracing his career trajectory, Adler reflected, “I always tried to learn what I enjoyed learning, and somehow that has turned into a legal career.” He acknowledged, “I think my career path developed by setting goals and following my interests. While I did not enter law school with a clear career vision, I always tried to remain curious and interested in several subjects to keep an open mind for what may come. ... I can only praise the
Albany Law career center for helping me find potential employers that fit my interests and helping me develop a vision of what I want to do.”
While he noted his more career-focused steps took place after his first semester at Albany Law, he said future shifts are possible as well.