Meet Brenda Chauncey, Director of Firmwide Attorney Training Administration at Kirkland & EllisFebruary 9, 2015
By Meg Benson, Co-Chair of the Legal Aid Academy Advisory Committee
Brenda Chauncey Kirkland & Ellis’ Director of Firmwide Attorney Training Administration has a long, unwieldy title. This is perfectly appropriate however, because her very big job would be, in lesser hands, just as unwieldy.
An international law firm, Kirkland has offices in seven U.S. cities, two in Europe and three in Asia, which makes Brenda’s reach world-wide. Working with the leaders of the firm’s four main practice groups Litigation, Restructuring, Intellectual Property and Corporate & Tax, she coordinates and administers their training and CLE programs.
Training at Kirkland is a constant, year-round activity. Each practice group holds programs at least once a week. In fact, all together, the firm has more than 400 training programs annually.
Brenda has held her current position for ten years. Prior to that, as secretary to a share partner, she managed and kept track of his CLE. When the previous training administrator left, Brenda was obviously a perfect fit. Now, she manages the CLE for the firm’s approximately 1,600 attorneys. This also means that, in addition to working with attorneys to ensure their CLE compliance, she has to keep track of CLE requirements in California, New York, Texas and Illinois.
Brenda loves interacting with the firm’s attorneys. She sees them when they first join the firm, nervous and green, and then watches as they gain knowledge, skills and confidence. Recently, an associate, who had conducted her first direct examination in court, thanked her. She told Brenda that, although she was nervous at first, she realized that she’d done several direct exams in the firm’s training programs and this was, really, no different.
In addition to the pleasure of working with Kirkland attorneys, she enjoys meeting and working with the legal aid attorneys who participate in many of Kirkland’s litigation trainings. Kirkland generously offers seats in the Kirkland Institute Trial Advocacy (KITA) programs held regularly in Chicago. Legal aid attorneys join their Kirkland counterparts for several days of intensive, often grueling trial practice exercises. Additionally, this past May, Kirkland partnered with the CBF Legal Aid Academy to offer a comprehensive, hands-on deposition skills training program to over forty legal aid attorneys. Brenda and her team organized the program, which received rave reviews from participants. Brenda is thrilled to be able to share this high-quality programming with attorneys doing such great work.
Brenda also enjoys the challenge of her job. These days, she is working to create interactive, online training programs that Kirkland attorneys will be able to access 24/7. Not one to rest on her laurels, Brenda is looking for ways to make her big, unwieldy job even bigger.