Roy Manukyan may not be a lawyer yet, but he already has many years of experience as an advocate. He began working in his family’s disability advocacy firm nearly a decade ago. When his father passed away in 2010, Manukyan, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from USC, took over the business, expanded, and renamed it RCM Disability.
Because of his experience as an Accredited Disability Representative, which includes advocating on behalf of hundreds of clients, arguing cases before administrative law judges, cross-examining medical and vocational experts, writing appeals and developing evidentiary files, Manukyan’s decision to attend law school was a natural fit.
“A lot of practitioners in this area are lawyers, although one does not have to have a law degree to practice,” Manukyan explained, “but you won’t get very far without being competent. Many of my clients come via word-of-mouth recommendations, and a lot of administrative law judges were asking me why I wasn’t in law school.”Despite running a busy practice during the day, Manukyan has managed to become very involved at Southwestern as an evening student.
“The quality of education at Southwestern is top notch,” he said. “We work hard. There’s a lot of good preparation here for entering the workforce.”
He has spent two years on the Law Review staff and is currently a lead articles editor. He is also a member of the Moot Court Honors Program. So how does he accomplish it all?
“That’s been the biggest challenge—just making the time for everything,” he said. “You have to have discipline. I exercise to help with my focus. I schedule my time carefully, including working on the weekends. Time management and discipline are key.”
His advice for first-year students who are just getting used to law school is: “Don’t put anything off. Set a schedule and try to stick to it. Although sometimes, if you’re really getting overwhelmed, take a night off. You’ll find you get more done after taking a break than if you were to try to power through.”
With his accounting degree and experience, Manukyan has developed a passion for transactional corporate law. Running his own business provided him with the chance to shuffle his schedule so he could accommodate a summer associate position with Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, attained through Southwestern’s OCI (on-campus interview) program.
At the firm, Manukyan’s workload focused on due diligence, corporate governance, and mergers and acquisitions. “The caliber of attorneys at Sheppard is amazing,” he said. “I can’t say enough good things about the firm.”
A week after the position concluded, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton extended a full-time offer to Manukyan. He gladly accepted and will begin after he graduates.