James Donovan speaks, here, to a group of high school students at the Congressional Youth Leadership Council Global Young Leaders Conference. The speech took place on June 21, 2010 at Manhattan College Riverdale. The CYLC focuses on leadership development for exceptional juniors and seniors.
Certainly, it’s refreshing to hear what students have to say about their school experience. Recently, the John W. Glynn, Jr. ’65 Law & Business Program at the University of Virginia School of Law asked their students about why they chose the school. Here are a few of their answers.
Their faculty teaches from real world experience. This includes people like George Yin, who was the chief of staff of the US Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation from 2003-2005. Paul Mahoney was another example and Jim Donovan was a third. Jim Donovan, as a managing director of Goldman Sachs, brings his experience from his real world encounters to his teaching.
There are student organizations that add practice experience and also help with networking. They have an annual entrepreneurship competition that allows students to focus their skills.
To learn more about the student responses, read the whole article.
Speaking at the University of Virginia School of Law on November 6, 2015, James Donovan offered insights for managing client relationships. As the Goldman Sachs managing director and a Law School adjunct professor, Donovan brings years of experience in the corporate world to his lecture. Hear what he has to say:
This powerful and informative article takes a look at Harvard Law School graduates and the advice that they offer to those interested in the finance sector. Featured in the article are Jim Cramer, Todd Buchholz, Sean Healey and Jim Donovan. As the article describes Donovan it says, “Not only can Jim Donovan ’93 help you decide how best to fund your child’s education, he can even help you select the school. If you want to start a company or buy a house, go ahead and call him. Just make sure you’ve got at least $25 million in liquid assets before you pick up the phone.”
He returns to HLS each year to urge others to go into finance. As he said, “First, [a law degree] is a great credential. Second, you learn a lot about tax and trusts and estates, and third is the approach. The logical approach that you learn in law school for solving problems is very helpful.”
James Donovan was featured in the Harvard Law Bulletin in 2001 as one of the graduates who has taken his law degree into new avenues. Here is part of the article and interview.
“A native of Danvers, Mass., Donovan says his high aptitude for math and science led him to MIT to study chemical engineering. He became a star athlete as a rower on MIT’s Division I crew team. Always pushing himself to excel, he applied and was accepted in his junior year to an exclusive program that allowed him to pursue his MBA at the Sloan School of Management while working on his bachelor’s degree. He finished both in five years.
Donovan had always intended to pursue a business career and felt a law degree as well as a business degree would be invaluable. Mentors he met during summers spent working at an investment bank, at a law firm, and as a White House Fellow only confirmed that belief.
When he finished law school, Donovan knew he’d go into business, either as an entrepreneur or as an investment banker. So when the offer came in from Goldman Sachs, he couldn’t turn it down.
Now he advises a “very diverse group of people” on what to do with their millions. That variety–in his clients’ personalities, circumstances, and attitudes–is what makes his job fun.
“They’re very interesting people,” he said. “They’re entrepreneurs, scientists, academics, politicians, people who have inherited wealth, widows, widowers, celebrities. The common theme is they’re all wealthy and want terrific service and results.”
Those clients are also sophisticated about the foibles of the market. “Our approach is very long term,” said Donovan. “We do not panic and tend not to have clients that panic.”
Now a recruiter for Goldman Sachs, Donovan returns to HLS each year to urge students to consider a career in finance. It is not a digression from the rigorous training they’ve received, he says.
“First, [a law degree] is a great credential,” he said. “Second, you learn a lot about tax and trusts and estates, and third is the approach. The logical approach that you learn in law school for solving problems is very helpful.”
The statistics bear this out, as a steady flow of HLS graduates each year goes straight to Goldman Sachs and other finance and management firms. “But I still worry that too many [students] at law schools, including Harvard, don’t look at all their options. They’re just assuming they have to practice law and they don’t look at finance.”
In recent news for the University of Virginia School of Law where James Donovan is an adjunct professor, Josh Black and Grace Applefeld Cleveland have joined the Admissions office.
As the directors of admissions they will work directly with the application, recruiting and admission process for new students. They are both alums, which allows them to bring their understanding of the school and their love for UVA Law to the Admissions office.
As Josh Black said, “I have always been very proud to be an alumnus of Virginia Law School, and it is a thrill for me to walk these halls again every day, surrounded by all that positive energy and intellectual horsepower.”
Grace Applefeld Cleveland said “I’m looking forward to getting to know our applicants this year. I had a wonderful law school experience, and I’m excited to help build the next class.”