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How I made partner
Washington, DC Partner Anna Kertesz reflects on her journey from associate to partner.

Anna Kertesz is a partner in our Antitrust practice in Washington, DC. She reflects on her journey from associate to partner.

Washington, DC partner Anna Kertesz started her career at White & Case in 2005. "I spent two years at another DC firm, then almost eight years as an associate at White & Case, then three years as counsel. And from 2012 through 2015, I was an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition. I was elected to the partnership in 2018."

What's the biggest surprise you experienced in becoming partner? "It's not a surprise, but I have been amazed at the level of collaboration across the partnership, spanning practice areas, locations and business services. Despite sometimes crossing multiple time zones, everyone is eager to work together to move projects forward." She adds that "I have had new opportunities to work with colleagues in different practice areas or different countries, whom I did not know or get a chance to work with before."

What it takes to make partner: Unique perspectives to problem-solving

Of particular interest to associates considering what direction their career might take, what do you think was the deciding point for the Firm in making you a partner? "In order to make partner, ultimately, you need to bring unique perspectives to your approach to problem-solving, be able to work well with diverse personalities in high-pressure situations with tight deadlines and obtain excellent results for your clients," says Anna. "My experience of sitting on both sides of the table, in private practice and the government, has also given me a broad perspective on issues."

Life as a partner: Fulfillment and validation

So how do you feel about your career now that you've made partner? "It was very rewarding to make partner and receive validation for the years of hard work. I have found that what makes this career fulfilling is crafting solutions for complicated matters that are intellectually challenging."

Anna says that partnership at White & Case has provided her with more responsibility and opportunities to continue to expand her professional experiences while helping clients achieve their goals. "I look forward to continuing this journey in the years to come."

The ongoing importance of business development

Business development is an important consideration for associates on the partner track, and it remains a key part of the job. According to Anna, the key to successful business development is "being a trusted resource, available to provide helpful strategy for clients, or prospective clients, in creative ways is key to retaining clients and gaining new ones." Responsiveness is also critical. "In my experience, it is also essential to be available and respond quickly with answers or with helpful strategy." Finally, she notes that "It is also important to know your own Firm well, so you can put clients in contact with your colleagues who can help in practice areas outside of your own."

What's been the biggest change, day-to-day, in your routine since becoming a partner? "The frequency of business development efforts in which I am involved. Participating in business development is important to professional growth internally and externally, but often opportunities arise on short notice. Balancing these with existing work has been the biggest change to my routine."

Final words of advice: Be flexible

What's the best piece of advice you could give an associate who wants to make partner? "Be flexible. Sometimes projects come up that you think may be only tangentially related to your usual practice, but these opportunities can be great for professional growth and for meeting lawyers in different practice areas at your firm. These projects can give you a chance to develop new skills or hone existing ones, and to expand your internal network."