We’re back with the final installment in our series, where 21 young lawyers share how they rose to the challenges of 2020 to make partner. We hear from a Phoenix-based partner who traveled the extra mile—literally—for an elderly pro se plaintiff, a Los Angeles international trade lawyer who grappled with the national reckoning on race and family loss and a Miami-based litigation partner who found a silver lining close to home during the challenging days of the pandemic.
For Hinshaw & Culbertson’s Brad Dunn, a litigation partner based in the firm’s Phoenix office, the pandemic meant traveling “30 miles each way to a pro se plaintiff’s house so that I could personally scan and review documents while outfitted in personal protective equipment because the elderly plaintiff refused to leave the relative safety of her home, refused to use the “dishonest” mail service, refused to learn how to “put documents on a computer,” and refused to allow a document processing service or anyone else at all (except myself, of course) to enter her home to view the documents that my client needed to finally resolve the case.”
Jaelyn Edwards Judelson, a Los Angeles-based international trade partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, writes about dealing with the anguish felt from the push for racial equality and a family loss. “Adding to the chaos of juggling Zoom schooling for two toddlers interspersed with dozens of our own meetings, the national reckoning on racial justice in June added an additional, and very personal, layer of complexity and depletion for our family,” Judelson wrote. “With some of the nation’s largest protests steps from our home in L.A., the unending and unnerving roar of helicopters added a dissonant chorus to the anguish I felt. In July, we also lost my dear grandmother—always one of my greatest cheerleaders and personal heroes. With the immediacy of these weighty challenges at the forefront of my mind, the beacon lighting my path to partnership seemed dim and suddenly from a different, unrecognizable time.”
And Akerman’s Donnie King, a Miami-based litigation partner, found a silver lining when it came to work-life balance. “To me, the job of a good lawyer and counselor is to make our clients’ lives easier. . . I have always taken this objective seriously and was under the mistaken belief that I could not accomplish this at home. So, even when I was not traveling, I often stayed in the office late into the evening to draft motions and briefs and went into the office early in the morning to perfect them,” he wrote. “Thankfully, my wife has been supportive of my often-unreasonable work habits and understands my behavior is an attempt to build a better life for our family. But, the pandemic reminded me that nothing replaces presence and allowed me to reintroduce myself to the woman I met seven years ago.”
Click on the lawyers’ names below to read more heartwarming stories on their pandemic paths to the partnership.