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The Spider Way: In Print

Published: March 7, 2013, 1:17 am ET
Contributor

The following is an interview with Sam Kaufman, ‘99, partner at Owen & Owens PLC and president of the University of Richmond Alumni Association.

What did you study at University of Richmond and what were your post-graduation plans?
While at UR, I majored in leadership studies with a minor in political science. Initially, I was not sure of my post-graduation plans. I considered seeking a path in politics but, quite frankly, did not discover my true passion until the summer after my junior year.

That summer I interned with the Virginia Poverty Law Center. The internship was a requirement for my Jepson major. Richard Couto taught the class that accompanied the internship program. It was a transformational experience. That summer experience caused me to pursue a career in the law.

What did you actually do post-graduation and what is your current position?
I attended law school and I am currently a law partner at my firm.

What is a typical work day in the life of Sam Kaufman?
Up early, about 4 a.m. I try to read at least two newspapers every morning. A quick run (sometimes) followed by making breakfast for my two daughters. I then head into the office after some time playing with both of my kids in the morning.

Each day is different, depending on the specific client project and/or case we are working on. Some days I can be in the office for 16 hours working on a deal while other times I can be traveling to a courthouse for a hearing. I cannot imagine doing anything else!

What do you know now (career-related) that you wish you knew as an undergraduate student?
I wish I knew better the value of networking. Richmond offers an amazing environment to network, whether with friends, classmates, professors or alumni. The intimate atmosphere is ideal for forging connections.
I certainly forged some amazing relationships while at Richmond but, in retrospect, I could have been a bit more deliberate about when and how I networked.

What is your most valuable networking technique?
Simply being yourself and listening. Too many times I see colleagues trying to network in a way and/or in an environment that is not natural for them. For example, I am not a golfer. Accordingly, a golf course is not a good place for me to network. A game of pick up hoops? Now we are talking!
Also, it is important to listen to the people you are networking with. There will always be ample time to tell your side of the story. Listen to other people and find out what it is that they need or want.

What is the most played song on your iPod?
Right now it is the “Harry Hood” from the Aug. 8, 1998 show at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I am an unabashed Phish fan!

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