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ILN-terviews: Ken Kelly, Epstein Becker & Green

Welcome to ILN-terviews, a series of profiles of ILN member firm attorneys, designed to give a unique insight into the lawyers who make up our Network. For our latest interview, we chose ILN member, Ken Kelly of our member firm, Epstein Becker & Green in New York.

In one sentence, how would you describe your practice?
Litigation of business and employment-related disputes, particularly in the financial services and healthcare industries. 

Who would be your typical client?
Regulated – industry corporation which engages in sophisticated business transactions.

What would you like clients and potential clients to know about you?
That I used to be a client of our firm and know what clients expect from their counsel; and that I have actual, hands-on trial experience and therefore can focus pretrial discovery on how to win at trial instead of merely requesting or gathering information.

What has been your most challenging case?
The Dresdner-Commerzbank bonus cases, arising from the bank’s board’s decision not to pay bonuses out of a “guaranteed” bonus pool for 2008 as a result of massive losses arising from the global financial meltdown. Case is challenging because our four arbitrations in New York required coordination with bank counsel in similar litigation in the U.K., Germany, and elsewhere due to concurrent litigations, different applicable law, varied results in other countries, and (of course) unpredictable arbitrators.

What has been your proudest moment as a lawyer?
(a) When a client says, “I’m glad you’re on my side.” (b) When a junior lawyer whom I have been mentoring for a couple of years brings me a brief in a complex case and I don’t have to change anything — mission accomplished!

What do you do when you’re not practicing law?
Golf, bicycle, bridge and root for the N.Y. Giants (American football).

What would surprise people most about you?
That when I lived in Paris in college with a family of “French-style” Communists, I had shoulder-length hair.

What has been your most memorable ILN experience?
Bad: breaking my foot at the Hotel du Louvre at the September 2005 meeting. Good: Strolling around the Acropolis in September 2009 with [my wife] Joan and our good friends, Susie and Andrew Kaufman.

What career would you have chosen if you weren’t a lawyer?
Classical guitarist.

If a movie were made of your life, who would you want to play you?
Cary Grant.

How would you like to be remembered?
Someone who taught you how to be a lawyer.