When the Pandemic Sidetracked U.S. Army Veteran Preston Washington's Law School Plans, the Berkeley College Career Services Team Helped Him Move Forward with a Career in Finance

Monday, December 21, 2020
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations



Photo Caption: Berkeley College alumnus and U.S. Army veteran Preston Washington, Documentation Specialist (above, left), works remotely with colleague Ana Lage, Assistant Vice President, Documentation Manager, at Eastern Funding, LLC. With the help of Berkeley College Career Services, Washington landed a position in finance during the COVID-19 pandemic when his career path to law school sidetracked.

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Berkeley College alumnus and U.S. Army veteran Preston Washington had a plan in place to go to law school after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies in May 2020. His prior career experience before enrolling in College after he exited the military included inspiring work with attorneys in the finance industry. Washington’s dream of becoming a lawyer began to take shape after he enrolled at Berkeley College in its Legal Studies program.

“At Berkeley I had exposure to and networked with professors who are established attorneys,” said Washington. “That built relationships which led to internships with the Supreme Court in Queens, NY, and the Federal Court. By observing and shadowing lawyers, I had amazing experiences, including interactions with jurors. I knew I wanted to be a litigator and an attorney.”

Graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, had its challenges. Washington’s plan included interviews to work with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and a private law firm, going to work and attending law school in the fall. 

“COVID stalled my plans,” said Washington. “It was a stressful year. The Law School Admission Test was canceled. A lot of companies were not hiring.”

Berkeley College’s Career Counselors were extremely helpful when it came to Washington’s job search. “They sent my resume to Eastern Funding, and encouraged me to apply,” he said. “I had an interview remotely with every department manager and accepted their offer to begin work as a Documentation Specialist in November.”

Ana Lage, Assistant Vice President, Documentation Manager, at Eastern Funding, LLC, a firm that offers internships to Berkeley College students and has hired its alumni, acknowledged Washington’s value in his position with the firm. “When I interviewed Preston, I was very impressed with his excellent communication skills, positivity and energy, all great attributes for his professional development, growth and success in a teamwork environment.” 

Washington is keen to keep his eye on the prize still, as he pivots and readjusts his plans, which now include going to law school while continuing his career in finance at Eastern Funding, LLC. He said  he loves the culture there, the roles and responsibilities of his position, and the challenges he confronts every day. Documentation Specialists at Eastern Funding, LLC, follow the small and medium-size business-loan documentation process from application through funding, making sure all of the legal requirements are in place. 

“This work will help keep my skills sharp for when I go to law school next year,” said Washington. “I see this position as an opportunity for growth and finding work-life balance.” 

Washington is focused on obtaining a combined Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degree, so that he can choose where that profession can lead, whether in corporate governance, securities or finance. He also said he draws inspiration and motivation from personal experience with racial injustices.

Growing up in New York City with his parents serving in the ministry at their local church, Washington learned the value of giving back to his community early on. Through the church’s initiatives, he helped raise money and volunteered for HIV/AIDS initiatives. Although earning a college degree was part of his mindset, after graduating from high school, Washington did not feel ready. He needed better organizational skills and to gain more discipline, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he learned both. At Berkeley, Washington was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success; Lambda Epsilon Chi, the honor society for paralegals; and SALUTE, the honor society for veterans.

“If you think about your experience in the military and put your mind to it, you can see how your experience translates into skills that every employer wants,” said Washington.

About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers continuing education programs to enhance career credentials.

Berkeley College has campuses in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, as well as in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 4,900 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for seven consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu

The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.