Jessica Causgrove, 35, Fisher & Phillips, Chicago
Practice area: Labor and employment.
Law school: DePaul University College of Law, 2011.
How long have you been at the firm? Eight and a half years.
How long were you an associate at the firm? Seven and a half years.
Were you an associate at another firm before joining your present firm? No.
What year did you make partner at your current firm? 2019.
What do you think was the deciding point for the firm in making you partner? Making partner wasn’t something that happened overnight, and it wasn’t based on a single victory or capturing a single new client relationship. I think it was a combination of my taking ownership of my client work, cultivating meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues, and extensive dedication to the practice of law. I believe the firm saw me achieve a series of personal and professional “wins,” all of which took time. Besides courtroom victories, they came in the form of consistent client satisfaction, sincere enthusiasm for labor and employment law, and a commitment to creating opportunities for the firm to grow client relationships.
Describe how you feel now about your career now that you’ve made partner. I am grateful to be named a partner at a national law firm that is a leader in its industry. I feel fortunate to practice in an area of law that allows me to work closely with my clients to understand their business needs and assist them in navigating through the changing facets of labor and employment law. And as the first individual to become an attorney in my family, I am proud of my professional accomplishments and look forward to continuing to challenge myself so that I can pave the way for others to follow in my footsteps.
What’s the key to successful business development in your opinion? Networking, becoming an expert in your field, and promoting your brand are critical to successful business development. It is important to get out of your office and into your communities to meet people. You should demonstrate your expertise through positioning yourself as a leader, whether it be through writing articles for industry or legal publications, or volunteering for public speaking engagements. Always look for those genuine touch points with your clients. Because the law is constantly changing, keeping your clients abreast of the various legal developments that impact their business demonstrates your attention to detail and mindfulness of their needs. Be proactive in flagging potential issues and providing them with sound legal advice in a timely manner. Be available for and responsive to your clients.
What’s been the biggest change, day-to-day, in your routine since becoming partner? To me, the biggest change in my day-to-day routine since becoming partner is focusing more on client management and mentoring the next group of leaders within the firm.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give an associate who wants to make partner? Take ownership of your career. This includes becoming an expert in your area of law. Always keep learning … after all, the law continuously evolves, as do your clients’ needs. Network with others and align yourself with strong mentors; do not be afraid to ask questions. And be sure to always advocate for yourself.