National Private Equity practice co-chair Kimberly Smith was profiled in The Glass Hammer on the importance of working hard, being smart and always being authentic. She stated, "When I started my law career I often heard [advice on being true to yourself], but it took years of experience as a professional woman at a law firm to truly appreciate it." Kim added that it is noticeable when people are trying to be someone they are not.
On working at Katten, Kim enjoys the intellectual charge of working on complicated deal structures and working closely with tax partners to find new ways to accomplish complex client goals. "My clients are under a lot of pressure to get the deals done quickly, and in cases where the other side won't budge, I need to figure out how to bridge that gap." She also finds relationships with repeat clients is one of the best parts of the job. "I might work with an entrepreneur very closely as they sell their business and then I'm finished working with them. But with a private equity fund, I might work on their deals for 20 years so we get to know each other and work together well. Time and again I come back to the fact that the intellectual challenges and personal relationships are what make my job so wonderful."
In terms of finding success, Kim states that being fully engaged is important. "When I started to engage myself at every level of the firm—with my clients, the leadership, my peers, and younger associates—that I started to get more traction in terms of advancing my career." She added, "Women should not be shy about self-promotion. It doesn't mean you have to go on about how great you are. You can keep it very factual and state something that isn't an opinion or a boast. In law, both women and men have to make sure that people appreciate their value." ("Voice of Experience: Kimberly Smith, National Co-Chair, Private Equity, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP," May 6, 2019)