Bryan P. King recently joined the Forrest Firm as a summer associate. A rising second-year law student at the School of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill (also James Forrest’s alma mater), King brings a mix of academic excellence from his time as an undergraduate at Penn State, as well as his first year at Carolina Law, and business acumen from three years of interesting experience working at one of the world’s premier mutual fund companies, the Vanguard Group, in Philadelphia.

King sat down with the Forrest Firm Blog for an interview to discuss his background and hopes for the future.

Q:  What attracted you to working at the Forrest Firm?

Bryan King: “I had the privilege of meeting James Forrest through some mutual friends this past spring.  I was looking for some mentoring and guidance related to law school and the career that follows, and James was a great person to connect with based on his unique experiences.  As I got to know James better, seeing his focus on helping Triangle businesses and doing it from a community-based approach, I knew this firm would be a excellent place to gain experience if an opportunity ever surfaced.

“As I was considering the different opportunities for summer employment during the spring semester, James approached me with a great opportunity to work with him as a summer associate.  I was familiar with his hard work, especially through his community efforts via the Durham Chamber of Commerce and his primary focus on start-ups and young businesses.  These businesses often have big barriers to their own success that comes from a lack of understanding of the legal obstacles they face.  James works to fill a great need in helping them overcome these barriers to success and it is a mission I was excited to join.”

Q:  Why did you choose to become a lawyer?

Bryan King: “I had always thought about law school as I was growing up and especially during my time studying international business, marketing, and political science at Penn State.  But I didn’t really know the reason why I wanted to go to law school, so I decided to enter the work force and pursue a great opportunity to work for Vanguard.

“I had admired Vanguard for a long time, and was honored to be accepted into their management training program. After I completed the program, I started full-time in their education markets group.  It was during this time that I learned why I wanted to become a lawyer—I worked on multiple projects with Vanguard’s in-house corporate attorneys, and I was able to see the breadth and depth of business acumen that these people brought to the table.  They had great business judgment and would often present many solutions to meet our clients’ goals (for which I was the advocate) while maintaining compliance within the legal and regulatory frameworks that have earned Vanguard a reputation for integrity throughout its history.”

Q:  How did you choose UNC and the Triangle as your next destination?

Bryan King: “My wife, Catelyn, and I were very familiar with the area—she had done an internship in Cary, and we have family down here as well. So when I was accepted at Carolina Law, it seemed like it would be a good fit.

“After spending our first year, both as a married couple (we were married only one day before we left for Chapel Hill last year!) and as part of the law school family here in North Carolina, I can honestly say it hasn’t been a disappointment in any way.  We’ve met really great people—James and his wife, Julie, have offered much in the way of counseling to us as a young couple dealing with the rigors and time constraints of law school—and we’ve plugged into the community through our church as well.”

Q:  What are your long-term career interests in the law?

Bryan King: “Taking my background into account, corporate law would be a logical next step for me, although I’m keeping my options open.  My development so far points to a career in advising businesses on legal strategies to support their development.  I also have a particular interest and passion for the non-profit world, and have gained experience leading Penn State’s Student United Way and serving on the board of directors for the United Way of Centre County in Pennsylvania.   Also, earlier this summer, I worked with a professor at Carolina, researching trends in corporate governance of non-profits, with particular regard to how non-profits may integrate the best practices of publicly-held for-profit companies in their own corporate governance strategies. At this point, I don’t want to close any doors on my career. I am interested in a wide array of areas and certainly looking forward to gaining experience with the Forrest Firm and possibly narrowing my career path.”