August 13, 2021

Right Place, Right Time, Right People: How Kelley Kronenberg Changed My Life

By: Michelle Rodriguez (Florida International University)


I can think of only a few moments in my life where I have felt, unquestionably, that I am exactly where God wants me to be. All too often, I indulge in my tendency to overthink, causing me to doubt my abilities and shy away from opportunities that may very well change the course of my life. About a year ago, however, I took a chance on myself and applied for the Summer Associate Program with Kelley Kronenberg. As I sit and write this today, I can say with all confidence that it was the best decision I ever made.

In the spirit of transparency, I will share something that I have not shared with very many. A few months before my start date with Kelley Kronenberg, I was on the tail-end of my 2L year and was giving serious thought to the possibility that I may have chosen the wrong career for myself (there is that pesky tendency to overthink again). To begin with, I was not enjoying law school. Courtesy of the global pandemic, I was navigating my way through a now-virtual J.D. program, infamous for its rigors and challenges, without the camaraderie and community of my classmates alongside me. While I could have looked passed the law school aspect of the equation—after all, law school is not supposed to be a walk in the park—I was not even enjoying the firm I was working at. I was in a rut, and I am not ashamed to admit that I shed several tears thinking that I had wasted the last few years of my life, all of which were centered around positioning myself for a career as an attorney. I asked God for a sign, either confirming or dispelling my doubts. That sign came in the best possible way when I began working for Kelley Kronenberg.

By way of background, Kelley Kronenberg’s Summer Associate Program is divided into three rotations; each associate rotates through three different business units during their time with the firm. My first rotation was with the General Liability/Third-Party Insurance Defense unit, chaired by David S. Henry. The sign I had prayed for came during my first couple of weeks with the DSH unit. If I had to conceptualize this sign, I would say that it came in two distinct forms. First, I was working in an environment where I felt truly valued and respected; I felt like I belonged. David and his team of attorneys provided me with the proper guidance and feedback, which allowed me to tap into a level of my potential that I had never been able to before. Second, I was trusted with substantive work that, in the past, I was never given the opportunity to work on. The team gave me several important assignments, some of which had the potential to change the entire course of a case, and they did so with the kind of trust and faith in me that I thought was only reserved for experienced attorneys. Some of my work ended up on court dockets, and one document I drafted even led to an order in our client’s favor! Most importantly, however, was that each of my supervisors made sure to thank me and give positive feedback on my work. While this may seem minor to the average person, it went such a long way with me. Within the next few weeks, I noticed a change in myself; I was excited to work, I was excited to learn new things, and I was hungry for experiences outside of my comfort zone because I knew that I had an amazing team supporting me along the way.

As I write this, I am currently in my second week of my second rotation with the Worker’s Compensation unit, chaired by Amy Siegel Oran. Amy and the entire team have been amazing. They have treated me with the same respect and professionalism I experienced in my previous unit, and Amy has truly put effort into teaching me and making me feel like a part of the team. I know that the remainder of my time with the firm will be a fulfilling and incredible experience.

I will finish with this: If you are considering joining the Kelley Kronenberg team, I urge you to do so. During my time with Kelley Kronenberg, I have learned that so much about loving what you do, and doing it well, is about who you do it with. When you work with people who are willing to invest in your growth, you will blossom more than ever before. At Kelley Kronenberg, I have found the right kind of people. Because of them, I have realized that I did, in fact, choose the right career. Kelley Kronenberg will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I look forward to giving back to the firm all that it has given to me.


DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as a courtesy and is intended for the general information of the matters discussed above and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Neither Kelley Kronenberg, nor its individual attorneys, staff or educational program associates, are responsible for errors, omissions and/or typographical errors – always seek competent legal counsel.