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Intellect

Succeeding out of your comfort zone

Venturous law students win investment competition

If college is where you learn how to learn, Kristie Lam, Rachel Sackett and Phenix Kline pass with flying colors.

The trio of second-year BYU Law students entered and won the Utah Venture Capital Case Competition without any previous experience in the field.

"Our Dean really encourages students to explore the legal tech scene and think more about the future of the legal industry, and I think his encouragement sparked our interest," said Sackett.

Image: 3 students.
From left: Kristie Lam, Rachel Sackett and Phenix Kline.
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Lam recruited Sackett and Kline to enter the competition in October. For the next seven weeks, each of the 30 teams worked to find, analyze, and pitch an investment opportunity to a professional panel of investors.

As outsiders to the world of venture capital and as the only all-female group in the state-wide competition, the BYU Law students chose the team name "Legally Bond."

Their path to victory demonstrates an important career insight made famous by BYU alum Liz Wiseman in her bestselling book Rookie Smarts: Inexperience can be an asset in a changing world. Successful rookies like team Legally Bond learn constantly, seek help, move quickly and work relentlessly.

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I was really hoping that this competition would be a way to diversify our skillset and learn something new. I've really been looking for opportunities to do "real work" in real-life settings; this competition really was a proper venture capital due diligence and pitch experience.
Phenix Kline
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We had to seek out faculty members and people who are currently in the field of finance to help us with foundational skills like market and financial analyses. It might be on the borderline of obsessiveness, but we were looking for ways to improve our submissions up until the last minute.”
Kristie Lam
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We learned everything as we went along, and we were shocked that we won! I'm really proud of our team because we worked incredibly hard, and I think the effort showed in the end.
Rachel Sackett
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These smart rookies earned some very high praise from the judges.

"The preparation, the diligence they performed, and their poise onstage presenting the business in a very clear and concise way made our job as judges easy when it came to selecting who should receive the award for first place," said Amy Rees Anderson, managing partner of REES Capital. "They were awesome."

The students won a $2,000 prize and a dinner with the judges. For Sackett, the overall experience was invaluable preparation for a law career that will focus on emerging companies and V.C. funds.

"I'm excited to work with tech companies because I find the innovative culture in the industry incredibly exciting," said Sackett, who will intern this summer at a top law firm for venture capital.

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