Mark D. Gruetzmacher, Jr.
Within a year of joining the Firm, I was arguing at the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of a pro bono client who was subject to deportation.
Kirkland’s culture is structured around maximizing the talent and the value that every person can bring to the table. From day one, it's a place where you are respected, contributing and listened to. The culture is rooted in the lawyers, the staff and the paralegals striving together towards a common goal as a team.
I'm proud to be a Kirkland attorney. It's an honor being affiliated with a Firm that is doing work at such a high level and across so many practices, fields and countries.
Due to the sophistication and complexity of the matters that I've been working on, I’ve had a wealth of transformative experiences.
From week one, partners asked me to join matters and play instrumental roles in those matters. That responsibility translates to growth. Being at the center of the action early on means that you are growing, learning and being formed as an attorney.
There’s nothing like Kirkland’s training. The Kirkland Institute of Trial Advocacy (KITA) is a thoughtful multi-year, multi-step program to help develop the skills instrumental to being a litigator.
The training helps you develop and practice critical skills as a junior associate that you may not get to exercise for a paid client until a bit later in your career. In year three, you might not be delivering the closing statement at a billion-dollar trial, but you will be on a team in Chicago doing a mock trial where you're delivering a closing statement and practicing the mechanics of a bench trial and the next year, a jury trial.
Kirkland puts these pieces together to develop you as a lawyer and a litigator in an extraordinary and unique way.
The open assignment system is designed to help associates and partners thrive. It enables associates to do the work that they are most interested in with the people they're most interested in working with. It allows you to try different things and have a degree of ownership over your matters and your docket.
The open assignment system creates an environment that fosters excellent work, a better culture and more independence. It also fosters mutual respect in how the matters are staffed and how they're executed.
Pro bono has been one of the hallmarks of my experience at Kirkland. I got involved very early on. You're often getting to take on a lot of responsibility in representing your pro bono clients. Pro bono work and the mentorship of partners and colleagues has been an incredible growth opportunity for me. The number of hours the Firm contributes to pro bono each year is astounding.
There's not been a day at the Firm where I haven't had at least one fairly active pro bono matter going on. You get to to serve people who otherwise wouldn't have any representation. There's a human element to it that's really beautiful. You're interfacing with your pro bono client about how the particular matter is going to potentially impact their life.
Within a year of joining the Firm, I was arguing at the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of a pro bono client who was subject to deportation. We won that case. It was an incredibly impactful moment for me from a human perspective — getting to serve this client who was in need and to make a difference in his life — and also from a career development standpoint. To argue in court within a year of starting at Kirkland will always be a high-water mark for my career.