Kirkland’s open assignment system fosters a culture of autonomy where associates are empowered to sit in the driver’s seat of their professional development and work-life balance.
When the pandemic hit mid-way through my third year, a partner asked me to lead the finance team for an $11 billion restructuring. When I expressed doubt about my abilities, the partner said, "I’ve seen you lead other deals. I think you can handle this, and I will be behind you every step of the way."
It was my first restructuring, and I was responsible for leading every aspect of the transaction on the finance side. I was the go-to contact for the client’s management team and financial advisors, negotiated with opposing counsel on numerous issues and took the lead on drafting the financing documents. I was also responsible for managing a team of 14 Kirkland finance attorneys both senior and junior to me. It was grueling but so rewarding: I learned at an exponential rate during each phase of the year-long process, and every night, I went to bed as a sharper attorney.
This experience would have never happened if that partner hadn’t pulled me out of my comfort zone and given me the support I needed to meet the challenge head-on.
Kirkland’s open assignment system fosters a culture of autonomy where associates are empowered to sit in the driver’s seat of their professional development and work-life balance. Having the freedom to manage the deals on my plate has enabled me to build a well-rounded portfolio of work, and perhaps more importantly, to achieve a level of control over my schedule that allows me to maintain a healthy lifestyle and spend quality time with family and friends.
I am committed to broadening the pipeline of college students considering a future in law and expanding access to Big Law for law students who might not otherwise have the exposure or opportunity to get hired at a firm like Kirkland. My hope is that students see someone like me — a female, minority associate who does not fit the traditional Texas Big Law mold, but who is nevertheless thriving — and know that they belong in this space too.
Beyond recruitment efforts, I am involved in a number of diversity initiatives and in building community among diverse associates so we can address one of the persistent issues in Big Law: how do law firms ensure that the diverse people brought into this space are nurtured, supported and elevated?
I'm proud to be a part of a Firm that puts an emphasis on supporting its diverse attorneys through affinity groups and thoughtful policy changes.
The Firm encourages associates to spend time on pro bono and facilitates that involvement with resources and uncapped billable credit for pro bono hours. During the height of the protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd, I got involved with the Beacon Law Center, a pro bono organization that helps people expunge or seal their criminal records. The vast majority of my clients were Black men who likely spent their youth being disproportionately surveilled and targeted by police. I had the opportunity to help these clients get their records expunged, which can materially improve their employment and housing opportunities, plus, the absence of a record might make it marginally safer for them if they are stopped by the police.
Seeing the impact that I could have on turning the clock back and removing the stigma of having “a record” was an incredibly fulfilling experience. Having the support to do this and other pro bono work has been a key part of why I feel as fulfilled as I do as a Kirkland associate.