After spending the bulk of his legal career with the Federal government at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC, Kenneth Lench is now a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, an international law firm focused on representing companies and individuals subject to government investigations.
1. How would you define a leader?
I believe that the same characteristics that make someone stand out as a human being in general (empathic, smart, trustworthy, hard worker, etc.) also make for a good leader. It also doesn’t hurt to have solid followers because what a leader is able to accomplish is often largely a function of those followers.
2. Have you had any mentors in your life? If so, what impact did they have on your personal and professional development?
I have not had mentors per se, but I had a few bosses when I was younger who had a profound impact on my career. These bosses didn’t necessarily talk to me about what it took to succeed, but I was able to observe them in action and hopefully learn. They also trusted and believed in me, which gave me the confidence to move forward even when they no longer were my boss.
3. What has been your proudest achievement in your career thus far? Why?
My proudest achievement to date is that I was able to have a long and fulfilling career in public service hopefully helping many investors along the way (while also enjoying what I was doing). Even though I no longer am in government, I still look back proudly and fondly on those many years. Of course, I still have a lot of good years left so maybe an as-yet unachieved accomplishment someday will take over as my number one achievement.
4. If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
It would be to take on more varied experiences as a young attorney. Specialization in the law is all the rage, but I think younger attorneys should be open to more experiences, which often help your career later on in ways that you could have never anticipated.
5. How do you de-stress?
I’m in private practice, I don’t de-stress. Seriously, I try to exercise and play golf when I can.