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Like many would-be lawyers, California native Katherine Marquart was intent on practicing public interest law when she entered Georgetown University Law Center in 2003. But after spending a summer working in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Los Angeles office, she decided to join the firm full-time and, at least temporarily, push her altruistic ambitions to the background. Marquart’s commitment to helping the less-fortunate never abated, though, and now, after seven years as a Gibson Dunn associate, she has found a way to combine her passion for doing good with a career in big law. The firm announced this week that Marquart, 31, has been appointed to the newly created position of pro bono director, a job that gives her oversight of Gibson Dunn’s entire pro bono docket around the world.

While it’s not new for Am Law 100 firms to create such roles—or to fill them with lawyers from within their own ranks—the job Marquart is taking on is a first for Gibson Dunn. The firm has traditionally managed its pro bono efforts on an office-by-office basis, with a firmwide committee meeting quarterly to discuss each office’s work, as well as broader initiatives. The Am Law Daily caught up with Marquart this week to discuss, among other things, why the firm decided to create this position, how her life has changed since taking on the role in late August, and what she misses about being a law firm associate. (The interview has been edited for length, grammar, style, and clarity.)

Take me through your career path, given that there are other associates out there who would love to make the same leap you’ve made.

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