Michael Lyon

Michael LyonFinance
Hometown: Lexington, KY

Describe your current job role:

I work at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, a global financial services law firm that represents large financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies and other leading corporations, government entities, charitable and health care organizations, and individual private clients. I will be considered a securitization & asset based finance associate acting as a transactional attorney for large financial institutions once my bar application is accepted by the New York State Bar Association. 

What professional experience(s) did you have prior to your current job role?

While at PBA, I interned at the West Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office to get exposure to the legal field. During my time in law school I was a judicial extern for the Honorable Gregory F. Van Tatenhove in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, a director and student attorney in the University of Minnesota Law School’s Bankruptcy Clinic and I was a summer associate law clerk at my current law firm.

What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?

One of the great things about PBA is the strong Christian people who are there to support you. However, depending on your career, it is unlikely you will be surrounded by many strong Christians. I have found it is vital to your growth as an individual and your career to get involved in a church and to find a strong Christian support group.

"PBA helped strengthen my faith and foundation in Christ that guides me every day."

How did PBA prepare you for the world of work?

Although I went to law school at a different university, PBA has still prepared me for my chosen career. PBA, and specifically the Rinker School of Business’ knowledgeable professors, advised me to major in Finance so I could better represent my future business, corporate and financial clients. The advice was spot on, and with their efforts educating me, I am better situated to represent my client’s because I have enhanced understanding my client’s motivations behind a transaction, their leveraging points, and the other party’s concerns in the negotiation stage of a deal. Most importantly, PBA helped strengthen my faith and foundation in Christ that guides me every day. 

What advice would you give to current PBA students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?

PBA students should spend their extra time networking. Although this advice is given regularly, it cannot be understated. Reach out to your family, friends, friends of friends, alumni or even a leader in your desired industry and ask for advice. I have found that most people enjoy giving advice or being a part of an individual’s success. In fact, this exact tactic helped me land my current job. For young alumni about to start their first professional job, set short term and long term goals, be a team player, ask questions, take extra time on weekends to learn about the industry and your job, show your thought process and do not be afraid to make mistakes. After some time, you will learn invaluable lessons that will position you to add unique value and become an important asset. 

Have you been mentored by anyone in your professional field since entering the workforce? 

Yes, I believe mentors are one of the keys to success. Since no one in my immediate family is a lawyer, I had to seek out individuals in the industry. I looked for a mentor who had the life that I wanted, and would consistently ask them for advice. They have helped me navigate unchartered waters and to see the bigger picture. 

Spotlight posted in January 2018. For current updates from Michael, visit his LinkedIn page and business page.