When Proskauer Rose LLP hired Seth Fiur ’13 as a litigation associate in October 2016, the multinational firm secured a well-rounded legal professional: a summa cum laude graduate of Fordham Law who was a member of the Fordham Moot Court Board and Fordham Law Review, and who served as president of the Fordham Sports Law Forum. In addition to these formative experiences, Fiur had another kind of courtside advantage: his judicial clerkships with the Hon. Claire Cecchi ’89 of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and the Hon. Patty Shwartz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Fiur says that his clerkships proved invaluable in helping him improve his legal skills, especially his writing ability.
“When I’m working on a project at Proskauer Rose, my colleagues generally trust that I’ll be able to write it if need be—whether it’s a small project between a partner and me or as part of a larger team—because I’ve had my work critiqued, edited, and shaped in a judge’s chambers,” explains Fiur, who has represented numerous individuals and companies in both federal and state level governmental investigations and complex commercial litigations.
Fiur’s initial experience in judge’s chambers came the summer after his 1L year when he served as the Hon. Milton Pollack Fellow under the Hon. Loretta Preska ’73 of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. As part of his internship, Fiur met with various SDNY judges to produce a report for Judge Preska (who had been appointed chief judge two years earlier) about their individual practices, such as how they ran their courtrooms and set their dockets.
Under Judge Cecchi, Fiur gained deeper insights into what types of briefs and arguments were likely to be more effective while he worked on numerous criminal and civil matters on a wide variety of substantive areas of law. These experiences helped him “understand on an instinctual level what appeals to the judge” when he left to work for a year as a litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell before starting his second clerkship.
Fiur took Judge Shwartz’s adjunct course on discovery and pretrial process at Fordham while the judge went through the confirmation process. Listening to her speak about litigation convinced the student he would like to clerk for the judge, if the opportunity arose.
“Anyone who has spent five minutes in a room with Judge Shwartz can immediately tell that she is not only a fantastic judge but also a terrific person who is wonderful to be around,” Fiur says.
In his current position, Fiur realizes the impact that his courtroom time with both Shwartz and Cecchi has had on his career. “Working with the judges and having gained those insights makes me a significantly better lawyer than I would have otherwise been,” he says.