Charting My Own Course At, and Back to, Prosek

Joshua Clarkson  Follow

Working in financial communications with a law degree, I regularly get asked some permutation of “how did you end up doing this?” The short answer is, “I fortunately fell into it and am very grateful that I did.”

To expand on that ever so slightly, I’ll turn the clock back nearly a decade. I had gone to law school thanks to a mix of a liberal arts degree, parental encouragement, an aversion to math, a vague interest in something I had heard of called “corporate law” and a lack of anything better to do in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, as I gather a not insignificant number of other young people did around that time. Low and behold, 2011 was not one of the better times to graduate from law school, as it was the largest class nationally of graduating JDs, and legal hiring was still depressed from the financial crisis.

In school, I got a better idea of what corporate law entailed and developed an interest in it, especially the more adversarial topics such as M&A and shareholder activism. Accordingly, when a partner at a law firm referred me to a financial communications firm, a field I had never known existed until I was applying for a job in it, it seemed like the mix of research and writing on financial and transactional matters might be a good fit for me.

After managing to teach myself enough about what the industry involved to make it through some interviews, and how to write a rudimentary press release for a writing test, I was fortunate enough to land an entry level role at a large global strategic communications firm. When one of the first assignments I worked on was an M&A process that drew not only on much of what I had learned in corporate law classes, but also my introductory level intellectual property classes (this was during the height of the smartphone “patent wars”), I was hooked. The more I learned about the field of financial communications, the more it seemed like the right one for me. The mix of learning about new industries and companies, and then crafting effective and persuasive messaging to articulate your client’s point of view, all while working across more diverse types of engagements than you ever would as a lawyer, was an appealing one for me. Plus, I’ve always been a news junkie, and here was a career where that was part of the job description (feel free to reach out anytime for my podcast, blog and newsletter recommendations).

Now, the only thing holding me back from complete career nirvana, was that I hadn’t yet landed at Prosek Partners. While working with interesting clients and their legal and financial advisers to address high-stakes issues they are facing is something you can do at several firms, doing it with such a great team and mentor is something you can only do at Prosek, which is why I’m so glad to have started here in 2013. Since then, I have had the opportunity to focus on the areas of our work that are most interesting to me such as special situations, distressed debt and structured credit, and I have found the extent to which Prosek takes employees’ interests and career desires into account truly is unique among firms I’m familiar with. Additionally, Prosek encourages employees to take on levels of responsibility (e.g. client contact, meaningful writing, high-level media relations) well ahead of what similarly situated employees at those other firms would be doing.

In fact, I am such a Prosek fan that after leaving in 2017 for an opportunity at a start-up boutique agency focused on corporate M&A, I returned in 2019. The biggest factor pulling me back to Prosek was undoubtedly my amazing colleagues, followed by the firm’s culture and the opportunity to work exclusively with sophisticated financial clients, which I found I personally much preferred after more experience working with clients from other sectors such as technology and consumer goods.  

Here’s looking forward to many more years working with the best team in financial communications to articulate the finer points of topics from acquisitions, activism and ABS to Z-scores and everything in between. 

CATEGORIES: Path to Prosek
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