Now a senior associate with the litigation and dispute resolution practice, Pittsburgh lawyer Mike Schalk has grown up with K&L Gates. He knew early on that the legal world was the place for him, finding in law an outlet for creativity.
“I can’t play an instrument or build things with my hands, but practicing law gives you an opportunity to be creative and innovative at different points in time. You can be creative in different legal arguments, in finding different avenues to advance your clients’ interests. It’s those points in time that really make practicing law fulfilling.”
The firm, he says, has a real focus on professional development, and there are lots of opportunities for growth, particularly in the first few years of a lawyer’s career. What he wishes he had known when he started is that growing into an excellent attorney takes time for everyone.
“The one thing I wish someone would have told me, at least on the first day, is to relax. You’re not going to make partner in your first year, you’re not going to win your first trial in your first year. But what you do here in the firm is develop into an outstanding attorney. That takes time, and I would have benefitted by someone just telling me to slow down, and it will come. The partners here are very committed to developing associates.”
For a young lawyer looking for global opportunities but also seeking this kind of professional support, K&L Gates is a good fit.
“K&L Gates is a place that will provide a young lawyer with the opportunities and challenges that only a global law firm can. But at its core, it has the values and ideals that typically people would associate with a small, local firm. In that sense, you’re getting the best of both worlds.”