We all have a “knowledge bank” that we develop throughout our life, which we rely on and tap into to distinguish ourselves in the workforce. Enrolling in law school was a huge commitment, both financially and mentally, to enhance this knowledge bank through devoting (almost all of) your time to studying law at Chicago-Kent. Sitting in at two of Dean Krent’s Roundtable discussions not only showed how valuable it is to expand a student’s “knowledge bank,” but also gave an opportunity to expand it.
Mr. Ted Koenig (Chicago-Kent class of 1983), Founder and CEO of Monroe Capital, spoke often of this “knowledge bank.” Mr. Koenig explained that everyone has a “knowledge bank” that contains valuable bits of information that enable us to work in different fields and different positions. Mr. Koenig’s knowledge bank, prior to entering the business world, has contributions from many sources: he earned his CPA after graduating with degrees in accounting and finance from Indiana University, he had an externship with a court working in organized financial crimes, he worked as an M&A attorney at Winston & Strawn, and then as an attorney at Hollub & Kauf. In 1998 he realized that his wealth of knowledge had surpassed that of his clients, and entered the business world to open his own financing business. Eventually, he opened Monroe Capital, which has provided over $1.5 billion in financing since 2004. The legal portion of his “knowledge bank” has given him an advantage in many aspects of his financing business, including the effect of bankruptcy, assignability of rights, effects of selling off investments, the list goes on. Mr. Koenig stressed that the most important thing as a developing attorney or business person is to build on this bank; take advantage of every opportunity you have as a student, because the opportunities (and time) decrease as you enter the workforce.
Mr. Lee Augsburger, of Prudential Financial, Inc. demonstrated to a group of 7 students his path to building his “knowledge bank.” While it is always expanding, his experiences as a law student (Chicago-Kent class of 1987), attorney, and businessman have allowed him to rise to the position of Senior Vice President & Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of Prudential, a Fortune Global 500 company. His role in the company is large; he basically oversees how the company takes legal advice and implements it into the business process in the most effective and efficient way possible. As a corporate lawyer, his advice was insightful as to how a company uses advice that attorneys feed them. Lawyers should be aware of the steps taken after advice has been given, and ask if their advice can be implemented into the client’s business so as to be compliant with regulation. Further, Mr. Augsburger advised anyone who is looking to be in-house counsel for a company of any size what sort of experience helped put him in this position. His “knowledge bank” is what allowed him to bridge the connection from lawyers to businesses. Prudential Finance saw the value in this, and put him in the position where he has been able to succeed.
These Roundtable discussions are one very valuable way to expand your knowledge bank while in law school. The opportunity to speak with people working in the positions of Mr. Koenig and Mr. Augsburger does not come often, but when it does, it pays to take advantage of it. Many more opportunities similar to these are constantly being presented here at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Look out for upcoming events such as the October 21 event “From the Courtroom to the Boardroom” and other events which will be discussed here in the CLS blog.