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Katherine D. DeMamiel

European Counsel, London

Estates & Personal

Why S&C?
I knew in law school that I wanted to work in trusts and estates. When I was interviewing with firms, S&C stood out because of its relatively large Estates & Personal (E&P) Group, something you usually only see at boutique firms. Once I did my callback interview and met the E&P lawyers, I knew S&C would be a good fit for me. I think what I like the most is the camaraderie with my fellow associates. There are many law firms where you can do good work, but ultimately, you’re going to do the best in a place where you like the people.
The Work
I enjoy how varied the work is. While I was in the New York office, I focused mostly on domestic estate planning. My matters included will drafting, preparation of prenuptial agreements, closing on a home purchase and helping a client change her daughters’ middle names. Since moving to the Firm’s London office, my focus has been on international estate planning, which is centered more on trust and investment structuring.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the closing of a large project that I had been working on, with two partners and a special counsel, for over a year. We had worked with U.K. counsel to entirely restructure a client’s trust and investment structure to provide him with flexibility to potentially become a U.S. resident in the future. I was the junior associate on the project, but had been heavily involved and knew the facts and issues as well as anyone else. One of the partners was supposed to attend the closing in Geneva but could not at the last minute and sent me instead. It was a little daunting at first, but it felt great to know that he had enough confidence in me to send me alone. And a free trip to Geneva wasn’t too shabby either!
The Path
I think my path is unique in that I knew even in law school that I wanted to work in the E&P Group, so as a summer associate I worked almost exclusively on E&P matters (although I did take on a handful of litigation projects as well).

I moved to the London office at the end of my third year on what was originally supposed to be a one-year rotation. I am still in London and loving it.
The People
S&C’s dedication to excellence is unique; there’s always a very high standard that you are expected to meet. At the same time, S&C is also unique in that there is a culture of trying to help others to succeed. I find the people I work with to be very friendly and genuinely good people who understand the importance of collaborative work in a profession like the law. There’s also a real sense that everyone wants their colleagues to succeed.
The Support
The Firm has good formal mentoring programs, but I find that the informal mentoring I have gotten from more senior lawyers has been the most helpful. One of our partners in the E&P department takes mentoring the more junior associates very seriously, and is very dedicated to helping us advance our skills and careers. I’ve also received a lot of great informal mentoring from one of our special counsel, who always has great advice about how to approach tough projects and about finding good work-life balance.
The Passion
Since moving to the London office, I have been trying to travel as much as possible. Growing up, I honestly never thought I would end up living outside the U.S., but it has been such an amazing opportunity. I also recently started taking painting and boxing classes, but the most important thing I have learned there is that I shouldn’t quit my day job!

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