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Company: Clifford Chance US
Job title: Senior associate
2007: Associate, Clifford Chance US
with a very special dynamic of collaboration where our core
insurance team has remained the same and stable for several
years. Interesting deals come and go, but being part of a team
in which every member is valued, promoted and encouraged to
pursue her or his interest is a major benefit to being involved
in this industry and with my colleagues in my current group.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
My biggest challenge has been to learn how to push through
my comfort zone and to develop the confidence to stand behind
my work. As a young lawyer, I at times felt a significant gap
between my capabilities and those of the partners with whom
I worked. With some resilience and the development of my
substantive skills, my self-confidence grew and I have learned
not to limit or underestimate my ability to contribute. This has
allowed me to take more of a lead role on larger transactions
and become a better resource for our clients.
If you had chosen a different profession/career path, what
would it have been?
Starting out as a musician taught me about the discipline
required to improve and overcome challenges as well as the
value of a truly collaborative environment. Those lessons
have transferred well into legal practice. Music remains a
great counterpoint to my legal career, and I still enjoy taking
voice lessons, participating in workshops and classes from
time to time and being around people who are completely
outside of my professional circle.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I have a love of music and I began my career as a music teacher.
When I started thinking about going back to school and
making a career change, I chose to go to law school because I
had always had an interest in the law and I enjoyed research
and history. I believe that starting out in an entirely different
type of career, and pursuing law at a slightly later age than
most first-year associates, allowed me more quickly to move to
a point where I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Clifford Chance gave me the opportunity to work on insurance
transactions early on when I started at the firm as a summer
associate and later as a first-year associate in 2007. I was drawn
to insurance matters from the start in part because my great-grandfather
started an insurance agency in the 1940s.
After the financial crisis, because I had been steadily involved
in insurance transactions since starting at the firm, I was able to
continue to work on these transactions even while I was rotating
through other practice groups within the firm. This continued
exposure to insurance matters early in my career helped me
to build a broad base of substantive skills, and strengthened
my relationships with the partners at the firm who focus on
insurance and who remain my mentors to this day. When the
time came to decide on a permanent practice area, there was no
question in my mind about focusing on insurance.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There are two. In terms of the work itself, the highlight so
far was completing two major transactions in close proximity
this past December and January. We closed on the capital
raises and launches of two alternative asset reinsurance
startups, one backed by Enstar Group and the other backed
by Arch Capital Group and Kelso & Company. I found it
extremely rewarding to be involved with each of these
transactions from the beginning, including taking a leading
role in these transactions, and watching them reach successful
conclusions. The compressed timing was challenging but also
More broadly, it has been wonderful to work in a practice
“My self-confidence grew and I have
learned not to limit or underestimate my
ability to contribute.”
84 | INTELLIGENT INSURER | 2017 www.intelligentinsurer.com