Partner Christopher Riccardi
Christopher Riccardi

I am the recruiting partner at Seward & Kissel LLP (“S&K”). I have been actively involved in recruiting and the summer program in official capacities for the past nine years. I am pleased to share my experiences with you and give you a bit about my backgrounds and help you see what sets S&K apart from the pack.

I am a partner in the Investment Management Group. I spent my 2L summer at the firm, and joined in 2000. When I went on the summer associate callback interview to the S&K office, I was immediately impressed by the people who interviewed me – they seemed bright, interesting and dedicated. I had a great summer associate experience and accepted the offer of permanent employment immediately. Throughout my tenure at the firm, I have been given a tremendous amount of responsibility. Clients that I worked with as a summer associate are now, in my capacity as a partner, my clients. I have enjoyed every stage of my career at the firm – from summer associate, associate, and now partner. Choosing Seward & Kissel was definitely the right decision for me.

Seward & Kissel’s practice primarily focuses on corporate, litigation and restructuring/bankruptcy work for clients seeking legal expertise in the financial services, corporate finance and capital markets areas. S&K is particularly well known for its representation of investment advisers and related investment funds (including mutual funds, hedge funds and private equity funds), major commercial banks, investment banking firms, liquidity providers, hedge fund administrators, broker-dealers, institutional investors and transportation companies (particularly in the shipping area). We encourage you to review our website (www.sewkis.com) for more detail on the practice specialties.

We understand that the second-year recruiting season can be a daunting process. We also understand that it may be hard for you to differentiate among firms when you are overwhelmed with information about them. We trust that after visiting the firms and getting to know the attorneys, you will be able to pick the law firm that is most suitable for you.

We believe that bright, enthusiastic associates are attracted to the firm they choose for the summer due to the type of work the firm does and the hope of becoming involved in a meaningful way in that work. Our associates are exposed to the substantive areas of our practices as soon as they start and we provide year-round training to new associates to help advance their professional development. We staff client projects leanly and efficiently, which allows associates to take on a higher level of responsibility than they would at other law firms. We care about the development of our associates, both professionally and personally, and put a lot of time and resources into their development.

Although we are a mid-size firm, we compete favorably with big firms in many sectors. We would caution students not to draw the wrong conclusions about a law firm merely by categorizing it based on the total number of attorneys in the firm (i.e. as either a “big firm”, “medium sized firm” or “small firm”). If you look through the numbers on S&K, you will see that we are dominant industry leaders in various practices. For instance, we are acknowledged to be one of the pre-eminent (if not the pre-eminent) law firms for investment management, as the many survey awards have shown. Likewise, our maritime practice is similarly acknowledged, as are many of our other groups.

We understand that virtually every law firm you encounter will tell you how great the working atmosphere is (e.g., “collegial”) and how friendly everyone is, and that they have an “open door” policy (and we are no different in making the same claims). Unfortunately, the buzzword promises can differ from reality. There are things you should be looking for in order to allow you to access the claims a law firm makes about its atmosphere. These would include (i) the longevity and tenure of the partners’ service at the firm; (ii) the absence of turmoil events in the partnership, (iii) the satisfaction of associates with the working atmosphere and (iv) the atmosphere one senses when visiting a firm. We believe that we are clearly unique among our competitor law firms in being able to validate our claims on these variables. It will be immediately apparent to anyone who visits our offices that the firm is a friendly place that has cheerful banter among its workers in a stress-free environment. Most of our partners have spent their entire legal careers at S&K (i.e., straight from law school and in most cases having been part of our summer associate program like me). Because the partners have effectively grown up here together, there is a clear sense of trust, mutual respect and team loyalty that we know to be rare in law firms. We are down-to-earth people, which sets the tone for a wonderful working environment.

I am proud to be actively involved in S&K’s recruiting efforts because I enjoy it and I am proud of the record we have compiled, and know how vital it is that we attract and develop valuable associates. I understand and freely acknowledge how important our associates have been to the firm’s success.

I believe that we can provide associates with a stimulating and relevant work experience in a phenomenal work environment. You will make and keep many friends here as the ties among S&K lawyers, both past and present, remain long and deep. You will acquire a great deal of knowledge and relevant work skills, which will prepare you well for your ongoing legal career, whether it would be to become a partner here or to pursue other opportunities from the contacts you will make here. I encourage you to contact any of us, our Director of Recruiting, Royce Akiva, or any attorney at S&K if you have any questions at all. We hope you will seriously consider us and good luck in the recruiting process.

Christopher Riccardi