Paulette C. Miniter, Jamar Walker, Christina Pearson, Paul F. Sheridan Jr.

5/10/15/25

Paulette C. Miniter ’16, Jamar Walker ’11, Christina Pearson ’06 and Paul F. Sheridan Jr. ’96. Miniter photo by Jackson Hillsman, Pearson photo by Hellybee Photography

We Ask UVA Law Alumni How Life Is 5, 10, 15 and 25 Years After Law School
Paulette C. Miniter

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Paulette C. Miniter ’16

Associate, Gibson Dunn
Dallas

Describe your work: My practice focuses on litigating and trying complex commercial cases. My clients are companies or fiduciaries in disputes over large sums of money or where the substantive outcome really matters to the client. The legal and factual issues vary widely, but these cases generally present complicated concepts and require real preparation. Recently, I’ve worked on matters involving bankruptcy and shareholder litigation, and claims of unfair business practices. I’m also developing a smaller niche in appellate litigation to complement my trial practice as, in my opinion, handling appeals trains you to be a clearer thinker and that is a “must” in complex commercial cases. Trials and appeals also share a theatrical element, which makes being a litigator fun!

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? My family’s first stop in Texas was a boring rural town, but I luckily made a friend who had horses. We spent hours riding around her ranch. I loved those “adventures,” so learning about and riding horses are my favorite things to do; my dream is to have a property with horses and a lot of dogs! When I can’t ride, I recharge with Pilates. Litigation can be high-pressure, so mind-body health is important. I also really enjoy charitable work, which is typically how my husband and I connect with others. 

Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? No, I could not have predicted the turns either have taken. I didn’t have any lawyers in my family, and it feels completely fortuitous that I discovered law as a calling. The same is true for my life generally. I look back and think about how hard it was on my family when they left Vietnam and arrived in the United States, and I see how fortunate I am to have come out of that.

What do you like about your life 5 years after law school? My husband and I are both doing work that offers an opportunity to make a positive impact and pursue larger purposes. It might sound idealistic but, to me, law is a great expression of the human imagination and spirit. It is how free people build civilizations, and I love feeling a part of that endeavor.

Jamar Walker

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Jamar Walker ’11

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia
Arlington, Virginia

Describe your work: My practice focuses on prosecuting financial crimes, fraud and public corruption cases. Though the statutory violations are often the same, each case forces you to learn something new — whether it’s a specific approach to a criminal violation or understanding some set of facts you’ve not been exposed to previously. In the last year, COVID relief fraud has been a fast-growing area, so my colleagues and I have really had to delve into the nuances of the Payment Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? Family, friends, workout, travel. More than seven years ago, I joined the DC Gay Flag Football League. The league provided me with a chosen family in a way I never expected at this stage in my life (despite the two ACL tears I’ve suffered while playing). I also met my husband through the league. Clearly, joining the league was one of the best decisions of my life. I also make a concerted effort to stay in close contact with many of my Law School classmates, especially my Section A crew. Life has taken us in different directions, but we still manage to stay connected.

Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? For me, becoming a federal prosecutor was always a question of “when,” not “if.” However, the timing did not work out the way I had envisioned. I fully expected to spend several years in Big Law before transitioning to public service, but the opportunity presented itself sooner than I planned. One of the best pieces of advice my mentor gave me was not to be wedded to a plan simply for the sake of being wedded to a plan. Turns out, that was pretty good advice, which I have passed on to others. 

What do you like about your life 10 years after law school? I am in a place where I am completely happy professionally and personally. That should be the goal, and to know that I was able to get there in such a relatively short time makes me feel optimistic about what the future holds.

Christina Pearson

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Christina Pearson ’06

Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
Palo Alto, California

Describe your work: I am the head of Pillsbury’s corporate and securities-technology practice in Silicon Valley. My practice focuses on advising technology companies in all stages of their life cycle, which means in one day I may oversee the formation of a new startup, negotiate a venture capital financing, advise on a capital markets transaction, provide comments on a 10-K [financial report] or negotiate an acquisition. I really love the variety that my practice gives me, and I love being able to serve as an example of a female partner who has both a career and a family. One of my recent proud moments relates to the sale of our client Inphi Corp. to Marvell Technology Group for $10 billion, which was one of only two mega-deals led by women in 2020. I was very proud to serve as co-lead partner on that deal. 

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? Our family is adventurous, and we love to travel. In 2019, shortly after my son was born, we traveled to Europe for the summer and my older daughters attended summer camp there. We learned a lot about other languages and cultures, and even managed to make a return trip to France in June 2021. We also love to ski. My daughters race on the ski teams at Squaw Valley, so we spend a lot of time in Lake Tahoe. Beyond that, I enjoy reading, cooking, attending my kids’ soccer games and hanging with friends by the pool.

Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? Luckily, yes! I was fortunate to have my major career and life goals in place early on, and so was able to accomplish them with the help and support of others around me. 

What do you like about your life 15 years after law school? I love that I get to play a critical role on so many different types of teams — at work on a variety of deals; at home with my husband, three kids and puppy; and in my community through various volunteer roles.

Paul F. Sheridan Jr.

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Paul F. Sheridan Jr. ’96

Partner, Latham & Watkins
Washington, D.C.

Describe your work: I am the global chair of private equity at Latham & Watkins, assisting many clients with mergers, acquisitions and other transactions. My clients include private equity firms, other investment vehicles and the companies they have acquired or in which they have invested. The deals range from the low millions to many billions, in just about every industry (including auto parts, education, biotech, software and consumer products). Fortunately for me, many of my clients have become my good friends (and some of my friends have become clients). In addition to my work with clients, I have been involved in several management capacities at the law firm, including multiple terms on our executive committee.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work? My wife (Rachel Ward Sheridan ’98) and I met at UVA Law School. We are not only partners for life, but we have also been partners together at Latham for almost 15 years. When not working, we spend almost all of our free time with our three children — two boys (ages 16 and 13) and our daughter (9) — and try to stay active, mainly with golf and tennis.

Are you where you expected to be at this stage of your career and life? I have been very blessed, doing better than I could have hoped for or expected. I couldn’t have expected to end up at the same law firm as my wife, but sharing the same workplace for the past 20 years has allowed us to spend more time together than the Big Law life might otherwise allow. Although work is demanding, we have been fortunate to find ways to spend considerable time with our children (even prior to the pandemic), whether it be at our summer vacation home, at their various sporting events or on other travel together.

What do you like about your life 25 years after law school? I am grateful for so much in life currently — great wife, wonderful kids, healthy parents, many friends. I love the fact that all three of our children have a successful mother, who provides them a great example.

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Mary M. Wood
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