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Pathways to the Profession: Anna Sheu L’21

August 12, 2019

Editor’s Note: Each summer Penn Law students hone their skills through a wide array of private and public sector internships across the country and around the world. Generous financial support and fellowships for international and public interest work enable students to pursue diverse assignments in the United States and abroad. This post is one in a series of firsthand accounts detailing how students’ summer employment opportunities are preparing them for their legal careers.

Anna Sheu L’21 is a native Californian and a 2014 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. She majored in economics and built statistical models before becoming a marketing manager at a tech startup. Thanks to these experiences, she is interested in corporate law.

Note: The Securities and Exchange Commission disclaims responsibility for any private publication or statement of any SEC employee or Commissioner.  This post expresses the author’s views and does not necessarily reflect those of the Commission, the Commissioners, or other members of the staff.

For my 1L summer, I’m working in the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, DC, which investigates potential violations of the securities laws which govern capital markets. 

My projects have included assisting with investigations of potential insider trading, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, and cryptocurrency offerings. The work I’ve done varies from reviewing a blockchain ledger, to drafting an outline for a trader interview, to translating evidence from Japanese to English. (My supervisor at the SEC has done a great job of giving me a wide variety of assignments.)

I especially appreciate the many opportunities to delve into the details of how these cases are brought. Just today I attended a Closed Commission Meeting, where SEC attorneys brought potential cases before Commissioners Robert J. Jackson, Jr. C’99 WG’00, Hester Peirce, Elad Roisman, and Chairman Jay Clayton ENG’88 L’93. By listening in on these sessions, which are otherwise closed to the public, I can peek into the legal reasoning of the Commissioners in evaluating these cases. The SEC Enforcement Division’s work leans towards litigation and I came into this internship with a primary interest in transactional law. However, the assignments here are so intriguing that I’m rethinking where my interests lie.

My experience this summer has already recalled various sources of academic preparation. After completing our final LPS assignment, I was familiar with what a complaint looked like. But perhaps I should have paid more attention to Biddle Library’s Lexis trainings, because it took me some time to figure out how to search for SEC filings. In a meeting, a senior officer mentioned the borders of the Commission’s reach; thanks to Professor Seth Kreimer’s explanation of the 10th Amendment and commandeering in Constitutional Law, I understood the SEC’s limitations. Completing the Writing Competition helped me become more familiar with Bluebooking, as I was assigned to check citations. My undergraduate coursework in options theory, corporate finance, and accounting was also helpful since it prepared me to read 8-K and 10-K forms. Understanding how capital markets function made my work more interesting. (Even if I’d had no background in finance, the SEC helpfully held three easy-to-understand “bootcamp” sessions to get us up to speed.)

When I return to Penn Law in the fall, I plan to take interdepartmental Wharton courses to further reinforce my understanding of finance. I’m also looking forward to the corporate electives, like Securities Regulation and Corporations, at the Law School. Seeing how the attorneys here apply law to fact in the real world continues to be a fascinating behind-the-scenes experience for me, and I’m grateful to the Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition for awarding me a Summer Public Interest Fellowship to do this public interest work at the intersection of law and technology.