Real Work, Early On

Rebecca's Career Story

Rebecca Blake Chaikin

Partner New York
Rebecca Blake Chaikin
The learning curve is incredibly steep, but in the best possible way… You can take as much responsibility as you want. You do have to earn it — and then you can take it.

Culture

Kirkland attorneys want to serve up high-quality service and a high-quality work product, but that’s all balanced with a very human attitude. Kirkland is a place where you can live a life, be a real person, and take care of yourself. The culture is to do really great work — and enjoy yourself while doing it. You are not just a cog in the system here. I am doing challenging, energizing work that matters and makes a difference in people’s lives and in the broader economy.

Opportunities

The open assignment system gives you control over matters and the ability to curate your deal flow. You can say, “I haven’t done a midsized, out-of-court case yet. That’s really an experience I need to have, so I’m going to find a way to do that.” Then you go and find someone who has that kind of representation on deck and make it happen for yourself. You’re able to customize your experience and build a well-rounded portfolio.

Experience

I’ve had significant roles in great cases. Most recently, I ran a chapter 11 case, Charming Charlie, and was at the center of everything. I worked closely with the restructuring partner and senior associate to implement strategy, coordinated with the attorneys from our other practice groups during each phase of the case, and supervised junior associates during filing preparations and throughout the plan confirmation process. I negotiated resolutions with opposing counsel on numerous contested issues and presented at every hearing. I was also the face of Kirkland in our day-to-day interactions with the client and their outside advisors. I was — and continue to be — the person the client called when they needed to know what to do. The case was an incredible opportunity to put into practice all the things I’ve been learning from “day 1” at Kirkland.

Involvement

Two years ago, I created a quarterly event series for the restructuring women in the New York office. It’s a great forum to learn, share experiences, and discuss how women at the Firm — and our practice group specifically — can succeed. By making sure women of all levels know each other personally, we can better support one another throughout our careers at Kirkland. This investment in ourselves will pay dividends.

The Firm does a great job of letting attorneys at all levels pursue an idea that fits within the Firm’s goals. I had an idea, told the partners about it, and had no problem getting the budget and support for it.

Growth

The learning curve is incredibly steep, but in the best possible way. I started interfacing with clients in a matter of weeks — I was advising them, drafting materials that went straight to them, and communicating with and presenting to them almost right away. And I was presenting motions in federal court before the end of my second year. Significant opportunity is out there for you to grab. You can take as much responsibility as you want. You do have to earn it — and then you can take it.