As a third-year law student at the University of Houston Law Center, my schedule was already packed with final exams, papers and interning for law firms; but with the flexibility of a student schedule, it felt like the ideal time to make a commitment to community service.
I began my career practicing corporate law at BakerHostetler before moving to Vinson & Elkins and specializing in mergers and acquisitions and private equity, often focused on the energy industry. My weekdays are filled with time-sensitive deals and a fast-paced schedule. I wanted to find an organized way to volunteer, meet new people and get involved in different charitable organizations in the community. I needed a volunteer program that had a certain level of both structure and flexibility to match my schedule.
The Junior League of Houston Inc. has such a large, diverse and flexible menu of volunteer offerings that I knew it would be easy to find a volunteer post that fit into my schedule. With every volunteer opportunity at the League, you know that it will be organized and contribute a valuable service. Like all provisional members at the League, I spent my first year volunteering with Texas Childsen’s Hospital and working in the kitchen for the League’s Tea Room.
For the past few years, I’ve volunteered in administrative placements — volunteer placements inside the League — starting as a writer for the League’s magazine, working my way up to Assistant Editor and serving as Editor of the publication this year. These placements have contributed to the League’s overall goal of building a better community, but also provided me with training I don’t necessarily receive from work and the opportunity to flex my creativity. Because I can volunteer in these administrative placements in the evenings, on weekends and from home, they also fit well into my work schedule. I have loved getting to volunteer alongside other members of the League and am grateful that I submitted my application for membership during law school. It has been a decision that has added meaning to my daily schedule and great friends to my life.
We can all be easily inundated with work and family responsibilities and to-do lists. As a busy M&A lawyer with a billable hours target to fill each year, I view everything in terms of time. I only spend time on things I enjoy — my job, spending time with my husband, family and friends, and volunteering. We all have the same 24 hours. With a focus on the most important things in life and making the most of every day, we can each make time to make a difference.
About the author: Brittany Sakowitz is a Senior Associate at Houston-based law firm Vinson & Elkins. She concentrates her practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, capital market transactions and corporate governance for energy, oil and gas and technology clients. She has a B.A. in communications from Louisiana State University and a J.D. and MBA from the University of Houston. She has been selected for the Texas Rising Stars list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) from 2014 to 2017.