Q & A with Kenneth F. Berg

Kenneth F. Berg, the partner-in-charge of Ulmer & Berne’s Chicago office, has been practicing since 1979.

What do you find the most interesting about your practice?

I serve dual roles at Ulmer & Berne, both as a partner focusing on commercial litigation matters for the securities and commodities industries, and as partner-in-charge of our growing Chicago office.  To me, interacting with the colorful professionals in the securities and commodities industries and helping them to creatively address their business challenges is the most interesting part of my legal practice.

As partner-in-charge of the Chicago office of Ulmer Berne the most interesting part of my job is introducing our firm, a 175-lawyer, NLJ 250-firm based in Cleveland, to the Chicago business community.  We have undertaken a significant expansion of our Chicago office in the last year and expect to continue this growth in the next few years by leveraging existing capabilities and adding new lateral talent to provide Chicago companies with the resources of a large firm at a much better value than they have traditionally received from outside counsel.

What makes a good lawyer?

Today there is no such thing as a generalist.  A good lawyer must know his or her area of the law thoroughly.   Lawyers, including litigators, must communicate to clients alternatives that make good business sense, even if they are not what the client wants to hear.  Then, the lawyer has to implement the client’s plan passionately and in a value-oriented way.

What is the biggest legal news right now, and what is its impact?

The impact of the economy on the practice of law is the biggest news.  At this point it is no secret that clients are gravitating to law firms that deliver excellent legal services at competitive rates and provide outstanding value.  The firms that are able to adapt to this changing paradigm will thrive, while those committed to older, outdated business models will find the going much more difficult.

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