Micah J. Desaire
New ideas and ways of doing things are always encouraged from peers, partners and everyone in between. Everyone has always been receptive to my feedback and my perspective.
Kirkland is always buzzing. As you walk through our halls, you constantly see people collaborating, innovating and bringing a lot of passion to the work they do. Everyone at the Firm is fully committed to producing the best work product for our clients. It's a high-energy place, and that kind of enthusiasm is infectious and exciting.
The work we do is always evolving and so are the ways in which we work. New ideas and ways of doing things are always encouraged from peers, partners and everyone in between. Everyone has always been receptive to my feedback and my perspective. We're all committed to raising the bar and moving the industry forward. Ever since I was visiting as a summer associate prospect, I got a unique vibe at Kirkland compared to other firms I visited.
The most significant legal work I did early in my career was toward the end of my first year. I was the point person on a deal working alongside a partner. I worked closely with that partner and contributed to every aspect of the deal from start to finish. I led calls with opposing counsel, interviewed the target company, led the diligence process, distilled our findings into a memo form and walked the client through the issues we wanted to raise. After the deal closed and I reflected on how much I was able to do on that one matter, I realized how significantly I had grown since starting my career just a few months earlier. It was extremely beneficial.
That matter strengthened my relationships on various Kirkland deal teams and with the client and helped me gain more confidence to continue challenging myself moving forward.
I love the work that I do, and I have the utmost respect for the people that I work with. I never get bored. The work that I do changes regularly. No two days are ever the same. It's challenging, and we're often called upon to navigate new and novel legal issues. At the same time, the things that make the job challenging also make it really fun. I'm building a skill set that I don't think I would have been able to build nearly this fast nor at this level anywhere else. My colleagues encourage and help me to surpass my goals and set new ones, and I can't see myself getting bored anytime soon.
During my summers at Kirkland, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do long term, but through the open assignment system, I was able to try out different practice areas until I found the kind of work that interested me the most. When I came back as an associate, I gained experience and built skills at a really rapid pace. I sought more opportunities, and I found that senior attorneys were enthusiastic about letting me explore new things. No one ever tried to cut off my momentum or steer me in a different direction. It became clear to me that Kirkland values the autonomy of its attorneys at every level.
I like to tell law students who are thinking about Kirkland that the junior associate experience is kind of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. No two people are going to have the same stories. My practice may look very different than someone else's, even someone within my same practice group. But at Kirkland, you're allowed to make your own decisions and build the kind of career you want.
Many of the Firm initiatives are really important to me. I'm very active in our Black Professional Network and our diversity recruiting efforts. Personally, I'm deeply committed to increasing diversity within the legal field and using my platform to give back to causes and issues that I care about.
In my first year as an associate, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, we also had protests sweeping the globe in response to the death of George Floyd. I was having conversations about issues like racism and inequality with my peers, and we came up with some ideas and initiatives that the Firm could implement to address these issues. We brainstormed ideas for internal and external initiatives that were aimed both at supporting attorneys within the Firm and also giving back to the community. We presented those ideas to partners at the highest level of the Firm, including members of the Firm Committee. The reaction we got was very positive. Everyone was very receptive to our ideas.
Subsequently, I had members of the Firm Committee reach out to me for my input on those kinds of important matters, matters concerning both my career and important policies and initiatives that could impact my community. It meant a lot to be recognized for my efforts and then to have my opinions listened to on important topics. This is a credit to the Firm and really speaks to its culture.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I contributed to a Firmwide effort to support our clients on numerous projects centered around the pandemic and responding to the corresponding safety measures. Together, across all of our offices and practice groups, we prepared guidance documents, offered advice, led presentations and counseled our clients through this difficult time. I tracked state and local guidance daily and provided written updates that went directly to our clients.
It was a really ambitious effort, and there wasn't a precedent to lean on. Word quickly spread that we were doing unique work that was helping companies navigate issues like return-to-work, personal protective equipment and how to support their workforce amid these new, unforeseen challenges.