Adam Banks, 37, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Office: New York.
Practice area: Appellate litigation.
Law school: Yale Law School, 2008.
How long have you been at the firm? Going on 10 years, since November 2009.
How long were you an associate at the firm? Eight+ years, November 2009−January 2018.
Were you an associate at another firm before joining your present firm? No.
What year did you make partner at your current firm? 2018.
What’s the biggest surprise you experienced in becoming partner? How much the firm feels like a real partnership. There’s a tremendous sense of collegiality among the partners for a firm as large and diverse as ours, and also a strong spirit of firm-mindedness that exists, especially behind the scenes. Collaboration is encouraged and valued.
What do you think was the deciding point for the firm in making you partner? It’s hard to say that any one thing made the difference. I focused on consistently doing the best work I could and taking ownership over my cases and matters that allowed me to demonstrate leadership skills and potential. But it was at least equally important that I developed strong relationships with mentors who offered me guidance and advice, and sponsors (both within the firm and at clients) who could advocate for me to the decision makers.
Describe how you feel now about your career now that you’ve made partner. It feels like both the culmination of a long journey and a new beginning. I’m excited to continue developing my practice, but also understand that there are new experiences, opportunities and responsibilities ahead. I also feel a growing obligation to make sure that I am contributing what I can to the development of the profession, whether that be mentoring younger lawyers, redoubling a commitment to pro bono service, or serving on boards of nonprofit organizations.
What’s the key to successful business development? In large part, it’s what Weil’s executive partner Barry Wolf calls the “wow” factor. It’s not just delivering excellent client service time and again, but really going the extra mile to exceed expectations and deliver service that leaves a lasting impression and makes your work indispensable. Developing a reputation for doing stellar work, exercising sound judgment and showing innovative thinking has to be the foundation of successful business development efforts.
What’s been the biggest change, day-to-day, in your routine since becoming partner? There’s more responsibility for managing teams and matters on client work, and a fair amount of additional administrative responsibilities and service on firm committees.
Who had the greatest influence in your career that helped propel you to partner? There are too many people to mention here, but Jonathan Polkes, the co-chair of Weil’s global litigation department, and Greg Silbert, a leader of our appellate litigation practice, have both been incredible mentors and sponsors along the way. They not only provided vital advice and guidance, but also have been instrumental in helping me realize the opportunities that have been key milestones in my professional development so far.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give an associate who wants to make partner? First and foremost, continue to hone your legal skills in your practice area, being strategic about making sure you are taking initiative and seeking out opportunities to round out your skills. And make sure that you take time to pause and reflect about whether you really love what you’re doing. It’s a long process that obviously requires tremendous dedication and commitment—and that doesn’t stop when you make partner. Make sure you know it’s for you.