My First Year at Selendy & Gay
November 18, 2020
Jordan Garman had no intention of leaving the Big Law firm where she’d spent years. But a chance encounter with two Selendy & Gay associates piqued her curiosity.
Now a year into her tenure at S&G, Jordan looks back on leading her first case—a high-stakes bankruptcy dispute—what made her decide to join a young, spin-off firm, and how doing so placed her in “the room where it happens.”
How did you first learn about Selendy & Gay?
I first learned about Selendy & Gay from Ron Krock, my then-colleague at a New York Big Law firm who went on to become one of S&G’s very first associates. While the ground-floor opportunity he was pursuing certainly sounded unique, I was back at our firm, fresh off a clerkship, and was not considering a move.
About a year after he started, I ran into him and asked about his experience. He told me he had been flying around the country with one of the founding partners first- and second-chairing depositions and getting all kinds of hands-on experience. A few months later, I met Jessica Underwood, who reaffirmed the positive impression of the firm. When a recruiter later emailed me about an opportunity at S&G, I thought I might as well see what this new firm that kept popping up was all about.
What made you want to join the firm?
The more I researched Selendy & Gay, the more I was impressed. They were committed to public interest and pro bono work. They backed up their commitment to diversity with a majority women- owned partnership. They created a training program designed to teach associates the skills needed to run a case from complaint to trial—and the program was mandatory, meaning billable work did not take precedence over the firm’s investment in associate development. And they promised even junior litigators the chance to get real hands-on experience early and often. I jumped at the chance to join this group offering challenging work and immediate opportunities for growth.
What has your first year been like?
Selendy & Gay is collaborative and brimming with lawyers who are passionate about what we do. Associates are encouraged to embody an ownership mindset no matter what level they are. When I joined, I was instantly given responsibility as the associate leading an appeal in a complex, high-stakes bankruptcy case. Since then, I have led various aspects of other cases and regularly interfaced directly with clients, partners and opposing counsel. My opinions on legal arguments and case management issues have been listened to and valued.
The switch to remote work in light of Covid-19 was also a part of my first year. The firm’s collegial atmosphere has carried straight through, with teams still celebrating milestones and wins together virtually, and associates still routinely stepping up to the plate to help each other. I have been thoroughly impressed during this time by the continued dedication of each and every associate, staff attorney and paralegal to produce high-quality work despite the extenuating circumstances.
What achievements from your first year are you most proud of?
Over the last year, I have been on the front lines tackling complex problems—legal and otherwise. Instead of merely receiving directives, I brainstorm and implement them. I’ve learned there is no problem that does not have a solution and no schedule that cannot be made manageable with a good plan.
I have also had the opportunity to serve on the Associates Committee as Tech Chair where I have played a role in implementing new technology beneficial to attorney workflow.
How has the firm helped you develop professionally?
Selendy & Gay gave me a ticket to the “room where it happens” and a seat at the table, in large part due to the firm’s disavowal of a strict hierarchy. In my first week with the firm, I presented a proposal on best arguments in my new case to four partners. Since then, I have consistently received direct partner feedback on my own ideas and work product without the gloss or changes of other associates higher up the ladder and have improved as a legal strategist and writer because of it.