Benjamin B. "Ben" Williams '98
Pine Point School Class of 1998
Counsel, Bloomberg L.P., New York, New York
Parents are encouraged to be involved in their student’s experience at Pine Point. For Ben Williams, however, his parents were really involved with his Pine Point experience: Gary Williams taught history and Jean Williams continues to teach dance at the School. Ben credits their influence as teachers (as well as parents) with helping him to learn skills that continue to serve him well.
“My dad’s practice of gently challenging assumptions because he knew it would be important for students to be able to justify and support their position and be educated about what they were saying still helps me today. From Mom, it would be learning how to work with other people collaboratively. Almost every week I’m working with someone new, and I have to be able to rapidly adapt to their personality, style, and needs in order to succeed.”
Conversations at Pine Point sparked Ben’s interest in going to law school. “Ethical quandaries in Ethics class with [former Head of School] Barry Bedrick, and discussions about civil rights issues in 9th grade history with Jim Royle embedded in me a desire to do the right thing and to learn the tools that would help me to do so.”
Effective writing skills were a key factor in Ben obtaining membership on a law school journal, which later helped him land a job with renowned law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, leading to his current position with Bloomberg. He credits help from faculty at Pine Point as a major contributing factor in his success thus far. “A huge part of my work is writing and reviewing the writing of others. In the law, each word we use matters. I have to be careful with what I say and how I say it. Though it was frustrating at the time to have Robin Rice correct my grammar and Ham Salsich suggest I revise my content (again) to be tighter and more persuasive, it was important that they did that. It is so relevant to what I do today.”
As Counsel at Bloomberg L.P., Ben works in the field of privacy law, an area that is constantly changing. “So many of the questions we have to deal with are novel. With my technology background I often work closely with research and development colleagues to gather technical details and then brief my colleagues on how I believe the law applies.” Ben also helps shape what colleagues at the company say and how they say it. “Language can be used so powerfully to make a point, but can also be used to effectively obscure one. You never want to miss something.”