Salmeh Fodor (J.D. 1998)
Partner at Marchman, Kasraie & Fodor
Ms. Fodor is a partner of the law firm Marchman, Kasraie & Fodor, a small firm of five attorneys located in Atlanta. Her practice focuses on corporate, business and securities law. The firm’s clients range from individuals and small start-up companies to large, established corporations. I asked Ms. Fodor how clients hear about Marchman, Kasraie & Fodor. She explained that the firm primarily gets its business from word of mouth. Individuals and companies of various levels are attracted to the firm because of the personal attention each client is given and the quality of services the firm delivers at a reasonable cost. Formerly, Marchman, Kasraie & Fodor was located on 14th and West Peachtree in Midtown Atlanta. While still in Atlanta, the firm’s current location is in a quieter part of town near Marietta. I inquired whether the new location made it more difficult to attract and retain clients. Ms. Fodor replied that people will travel to see you if you provide good service. Her new location is more tranquil than the West Peachtree location (the current office looks over a small lake), which is important when your work is demanding.
Prior to being partner at Marchman, Kasraie & Fodor, Ms. Fodor held jobs relating to securities and corporate law in both the public and private sectors. Before attending law school, she worked as an advisor at two large investment companies. She has clerked for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Enforcement Division in Miami and has worked for the Arizona Corporation Commission, Securities Division in Phoenix. After receiving her law degree, Ms. Fodor began practicing in the corporate and securities department of a law firm in Arizona and later helped form a boutique firm specializing in corporate and securities law. When I asked Ms. Fodor how she obtained her job with the Arizona Corporation Commission she informed me that it was through connections with professors. Reflecting on her work history, she explained that she enjoyed working in the public sector, but preferred the private sector. She noted, however, that the SEC Atlanta Regional Office is a good office to work in, evident by its low employee turnover rate.
When I asked Ms. Fodor for her advice to law students and recent graduates trying to obtain internships and jobs in today’s market, she emphasized the importance of persistence. She stated that most law students and recent graduates seem to lack enthusiasm and drive. Although employment in this market is often governed by what you can get rather than by what you desire to do, Ms. Fodor encourages job seekers to be aggressive and sell themselves to prospective employers. She explained that she hires “go-getters.” Her clients don’t wait around — they expect her to come to them with results — so anyone she hires must also be results-oriented and approach clients with solutions. Specifically, Ms. Fodor suggested that job seekers take some time to learn about sales so they can present themselves more effectively.
Ms. Fodor also recommended that law students and recent graduates find and stay involved with a particular organization not only to make contacts, but also maintain those relationships. She explained that the goal should be to get to know the attorneys and find a mentor. Getting involved with a specific charity, doing community service, and joining a professional association are all good ways of building relationships. One particular association Ms. Fodor suggested was the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (GAWL) because of its strong mentoring program. Ms. Fodor described the corporate and securities law field as more male-dominated than other areas of law so camaraderie with female attorneys, especially those who practice corporate and securities law, is very valuable. Curious about the challenges facing female attorneys who practice corporate law, I inquired whether she found it difficult to obtain clients. Ms. Fodor informed me that she found that clients like female attorneys because they believe female attorneys tend to be more detail-oriented and aggressive.
I asked Ms. Fodor whether she had any advice on ways that new attorneys interested in corporate or securities law could gain practical experience to help them enter that field. She suggested volunteering with a charity by handling some of their basic corporate legal work. Doing contract work on the side is another good way to gain experience and gain connections. She recommends that new attorneys should hold out for the job they want. However, she noted that if that job doesn’t materialize six months after graduation, you should find a job in any area of law and look for opportunities to transition into your field of choice. Ms. Fodor advises against starting your own practice straight out of law school after passing the bar because doing so will cause new lawyers to miss out on invaluable guidance from experienced attorneys. For those interested in learning more about corporate and securities law and the business world in general, Ms. Fodor recommends staying current and reading Bloomberg, Forbes, and The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation (http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/corpgov/).