On a blazing hot afternoon last July, Adam Gottlieb sat in a crowded Manhattan testing center, tackling a property question on the New York State bar exam. Twelve days later, he was four hours north of Nairobi, tracking a 2,800-pound rhino on the Kenyan veld.

Gottlieb, now a first-year litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, spent two weeks living in a mud hut and collecting data on the 45 endangered rhinos that roam the Sweetwaters Black Rhino Reserve.