MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Ryaan Ibtisam is spending his first law school summer working with three national legal and financial institutions.
“I do not like to waste time,” said the West Virginia University College of Law student. “I am very passionate about the law and I wanted to learn as much as I could by spending every second of my summer doing something law-related.”
Ibtisam, a rising 2L, is one of three WVU Law students opting for a “split summer” work experience in 2021. The others are Caroline Leadmon and Karli Celestin.
Ibtisam starts his summer work experience in mid-May, traveling between the Jackson Kelly offices in Morgantown, Charleston and Pittsburgh. Afterward, he will work remotely for seven weeks for the New York office of Riemer and Braunstein, a boutique finance and full-service law firm that represents international clients. Then, Ibtisam will work in person for three weeks at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh.
“Jackson Kelly has strong connections to the College of Law, and I have loved meeting many attorneys from the firm so far,” he said. “I am thankful they worked with me to coordinate a two-week program that would allow me to work and experience the firm’s atmosphere.”
Riemer and Braunstein participates in the national Move the Needle 1L Diversity Pipeline Collective, a joint effort between law firms, attorneys and stakeholders to increase diversity and create transformative change in the legal profession and beyond. The program is part of the firm’s collaboration with Diversity Lab, an incubator for innovative solutions to increase diversity and inclusion in the law.
“Riemer and Braunstein has a very robust summer program and an environment of collegiality that I’m looking forward to. I feel they value me as an individual and will provide tools for me to succeed and develop,” Ibtisam said. “Getting to see both sides of the coin with this firm and a financial institution like PNC is very exciting. It is an absolute honor getting this opportunity.”
At WVU Law, Ibtisam is a member of the Success in Law School mentoring program, which pairs attorneys with diverse first-year law students to provide mentorship and support. The program is part of the College of Law’s partnership with Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a national organization dedicated to creating opportunities for minority law students.
Ibtisam’s LCLD mentor is WVU Law graduate Thomas Ryan ’04, a partner in the Pittsburgh office of K&L Gates. When he interviewed at PNC, Ibtisam learned the company is also involved with LCLD and provides mentorship and resources for diverse students.
“This summer perfectly aligns with my interests in the law and the people I want by my side as I learn,” he said. “My goals in the law are not limited to my practice. My goals are to contribute to my firm and my community in a meaningful way and to show kids like me who dream to dream big.”
Ibtisam grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He graduated from Miami University (Ohio) in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Finance. He is currently a board member for the non-profit apparel company Idyll Project that specializes in making pashmina scarves to connect communities and cultures.
Before to law school, Ibtisam ran his own risk assessment firm and was a finance associate with Fisher & Associates in Houston, Texas.
At WVU Law, Ibtisam is a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society and an elected member of the Ethics Council.