Jenner & Block

Tassity Johnson

Why did you join Jenner & Block?
I joined Jenner & Block because every attorney during my interviews was warm, genuine, and friendly, and because of the firm’s commitment to pro bono and strong reputation for appellate advocacy.

What kind of work have you been doing?  Pro bono matters?
I am currently working on two investigations, one for an SEC matter and one stemming from our monitorship of a bank.  I’ve also been involved in pro bono litigation for voting rights, First Amendment, and landlord-tenant matters.   

Name 1-2 things you’ve learned in the last year.
Although I’ve only been with the firm for a little over six months, I am constantly learning the meaning and importance of good judgment in practicing law.  

What has been your proudest moment?
Watching my partner-mentor argue an important First Amendment case.

What are the people at Jenner & Block like?
Warm, friendly, collegial, candid, approachable, conscientious, and thoughtful.

What qualities are needed to be successful at this level at the firm?
With the proviso that I’ve only been with the firm for a little over six months, I have observed that success is closely tied with an associate’s ability and willingness to take ownership for his or her cases, which requires having both a detailed, granular understanding of a case’s day-to-day progress, as well as a broad, complex understanding of the case strategy.

What should a prospective associate know about being at your level in the firm?
Being at this level requires a willingness to take ownership, and some degree of introspection about what you want your career to be at Jenner & Block, and how you can best use the resources here (including the attorneys, who are very open to mentoring and giving advice) to get there.

What does it take to get to the next level at the firm?
Building relationships with attorneys at the firm and current and prospective clients, and establishing a reputation for quality work within the firm.

What sets Jenner & Block apart from other firms?
The firm strikes a unique balance between commitment to clients and high-quality work with an appreciation and respect for attorneys at all levels and for staff and personnel.

Karthik P. Reddy

Why did you join Jenner & Block?
I joined Jenner & Block because of the firm’s commitment to excellence in litigation and its focus on the community.  True to its word, Jenner & Block encourages junior associates to take active roles in pro bono matters.  This not only ensures that all Jenner & Block attorneys can fulfill their professional obligations to the community, but also provides younger attorneys with valuable opportunities to develop their negotiation and litigation skills.

What kind of work have you been doing?  Pro bono matters?
As a junior associate, I have been able to explore several of the firm's ’s practice areas, including antitrust, telecommunications, and appellate litigation.  This has involved advocacy before federal regulatory bodies, as well as research and drafting for filings in state and federal courts.  I have also had the opportunity to undertake a significant amount of pro bono work, including post-conviction litigation on behalf of an incarcerated defendant.

Name 1-2 things you’ve learned in the last year.
I have learned how important an open door can be.  There come times in every junior associate’s career when the knowledge and experience of a fellow attorney is necessary to solve a difficult issue or think through a novel question.  Attorneys at Jenner & Block are always willing to make time for such advice, which is not only rewarding for associates, but also helps to ensure that the firm delivers superb legal services to its clients.

What are the people at Jenner & Block like?
Jenner & Block's staff and attorneys are intelligent, collaborative, and committed.  The staff and attorneys I have met have varied and interesting backgrounds, which allow them to bring distinct and diverse perspectives to the table.  It is also difficult to find a closed door at Jenner, and I have yet to come across someone at the firm who is unwilling to take time for a colleague with a question or issue.  Above all, everyone at Jenner & Block shares a commitment to pro bono, which helps to make the firm such a stimulating place to work.

What kind of training have you received?
Jenner & Block's  training is both formal and informal.  All first-year litigation associates are encouraged to participate in a multi-day deposition training in Chicago, and there are several trainings conducted in Jenner’s offices throughout the year.  Even more important is the informal training that junior associates receive every day from partners and senior associates, who are willing to make time to provide feedback and ensure that junior associates build the skills necessary to become effective advocates.

What qualities are needed to be successful at this level at the firm?
Jenner & Block's associates need one thing to be successful:  A constant drive to improve.  The firm is flexible, and opportunities like depositions and arguments are open to even junior associates who demonstrate that they are willing and able to take them on.

What should a prospective associate know about being at your level in the firm?
Jenner & Block is a wonderful firm for junior associates who are interested in building skills quickly.  The firm not only encourages junior associates to gain experience in various practice groups before selecting an area of expertise, but also allows junior associates to take on responsibility from the start.

What sets Jenner & Block apart from other firms?
Jenner & Block's focus on pro bono is truly outstanding.  Both partners and associates devote a significant proportion of their time to ensuring that the unserved have an advocate on their side.  I have seen firsthand the contribution that Jenner’s attorneys have made to improving access to justice, which is important not only for the individual clients, but also the system as a whole.  This focus on pro bono work is particularly valuable for associates, as it provides them with an exceptional opportunity to build skills.

Samuel Jahangir

Why did you join Jenner & Block?

As someone who considers Chicago home, I knew I wanted to stay in Chicago.  In addition, I was looking for a firm with a strong litigation practice and a commitment to pro bono.  Even before my callback interview, I knew Jenner & Block offered both.  During my interviews, it became clear to me that Jenner & Block was a good fit.  The attorneys I met during the process were working on cutting edge litigation matters and had a passion for pro bono.  I came away with a strong sense that I wanted to work with the people I had met.  So I joined Jenner & Block.

What kind of work have you been doing?  Pro bono matters?

I have worked on a variety of matters including several internal investigations and some complex commercial litigation matters.  I have drafted motions and briefs and participated in the discovery process – I learn something new every day.  I have an active pro bono practice and have worked on an employment discrimination matter and a post-conviction petition, where our client’s prior, wrongful convictions were vacated.

Name 1-2 things you’ve learned in the last year.

The biggest thing I’ve learned in the last year is that no two days are the same and to expect the unexpected!  My assignments have been unpredictable, sometimes requiring travel, sometimes requiring me to play detective and be creative!  I have also had plenty of the more traditional assignments – research, legal analysis, brief writing – but the unexpected variety has been exciting.    Overall, I’ve learned how every case boils into its own adventure.

What are the people at Jenner & Block like?

Some of the people I’ve worked with are some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met!  But more importantly, they’re also some of the nicest.  We are a team here.  We rely on each other to get things done and to pitch in when needed.  We are all passionate about the work we do and also things outside of work -- from theatre to sports to community outreach.  The people at Jenner definitely help to set this place apart.

What kind of training have you received?

I have received formal training, as well as on-the-job training.  Some of my formal training includes internal seminars led by senior associates or partners on practice areas or specific topics.  For example, the firm hosts a two-day deposition workshop where you simulate taking a deposition and an  interactive legal writing seminar.  While on-the-job, I have received extensive feedback and guidance on a variety of topics including examining witnesses and summary judgment briefing. 

What qualities are needed to be successful at this level at the firm?

Simply put, being a team player is probably the most important quality.  Assignments vary.  Deadlines vary.  Your schedule certainly varies.  But what remains constant is that your team is relying on you to do your part.  Sometimes that’s easy.  Sometimes it’s not.  And when it’s not, those are the important moments.  That’s when you have to figure out what to prioritize.  That’s when you need to communicate with your team so that everyone’s on the same page.  There’s a lot of collaboration in legal work, so being an effective team player is a key aspect to be successful.

What should a prospective associate know about being at your level in the firm?

Even as a junior associate, you have some control over the type of work you do.  If there’s a particular practice group that you’re interested in, you can reach out to that group for assignments.  If there’s a particular person you’re interested in working with, walk over to that person’s office or give that person a call.  If you’re not sure what kind of work you want to do, that’s ok too:  you have the flexibility to try different things.   

What sets Jenner & Block apart from other firms?

My prior answers probably give this one away!  The people.  The work is certainly interesting, which is to be expected at a law firm like Jenner & Block.  Yet the work is only part of the experience.  The key differentiator for me is the people.  When you admire and like the people you are working with it makes every day more.  In addition to the people, Jenner & Block’s commitment to pro bono makes this firm unique.  Here, pro bono is treated as seriously as any other matter.  Pro bono provides some of the most interesting experiences for any attorney, litigator or transactional.  Pro bono work is a cornerstone to the Jenner & Block experience.
 

Reena Sikdar

Why did you join Jenner & Block?

I came to Jenner for one very specific reason: its commitment to pro bono.  Working in public interest is not feasible for everyone, especially right out of law school, so I was looking for a law firm where I could make a difference in the community.  Jenner is definitely that place.  Most everyone I’ve met works on multiple pro bono matters at a time.  Supervising partners are also involved, helping to ensure that associates are providing the best possible service to our pro bono clients, using Jenner & Block’s excellent resources and learning new skills.  I think that is really rare in this profession.  

What kind of work have you been doing?  Pro bono matters?

In my short time at the firm, I have been able to work on a really interesting variety of pro bono matters, including: (1) an appeal of a criminal sentence, which went all the way up to the Supreme Court, was remanded back to state court for trial, and eventually settled; (2) a resentencing of an unconstitutional juvenile mandatory life-without-parole sentence, which resulted in our client’s release in 2018; (3) an advocacy piece for legislation being considered by the Illinois state legislature; (4) two separate civil rights lawsuits regarding school funding; and (5) a murder trial.  

 

TASSITY JOHNSON
Office(s):
Washington, DC
Law Schools(s):
Yale Law School
Started with firm:
2016
KARTHIK P. REDDY
Office(s):
Washington, DC
Law Schools(s):
Harvard Law School
Practice Area(s):
Litigation
Started with firm:
2016
SAMUEL JAHANGIR
Office(s):
Chicago
Law Schools(s):
University of Chicago Law School
Practice Area(s):
Litigation
Started with firm:
2016
REENA SIKDAR
Office(s):
Chicago
Law Schools(s):
Northwestern University School of Law
Practice Area(s):
Litigation
Started with firm:
2015