Washington, D.C., is a magnet for the top graduates from the top law schools in some of the most sophisticated practices in the nation, including appellate and antitrust. So for the NLJ's 2017 Rising Stars list, how did we go about reviewing a large pool of smart, young nominees? Very carefully. We looked for key elements including success on the highest stages, diversity of practice groups and law firms. We also looked closely at recommendations. We are proud to present our 2017 Rising Stars. This year, we share their keys to success in their own words, edited for clarity and length.

Michael Kimberly, 36
Partner, Mayer Brown
The National Law Journal
September 1, 2017

What was the most valuable lesson you learned in your first year of practice?

Success depends on taking personal ownership of one's own path. That means not only relentlessly taking advantage of opportunities when they are offered, but also making opportunities for oneself.

Describe your biggest win or accomplishment in practice.

My 9-0 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Maryland congressional redistricting case was a big win. It revived a case that was on life support before my involvement. And as a result, we are now poised to change the law of partisan gerrymandering.

Who do you consider to be your greatest lawyer mentor?

[Mayer Brown partner] Andy Pincus and [special counsel] Charles Rothfeld have been longtime mentors. I met them when I was a law student in the Yale Supreme Court Clinic (which I now co-teach with them). They taught me what great brief writing looks like.

Please share a key to your success.

Creativity. The best litigators are creative in developing solutions to tough legal problems; in keeping one step ahead of their adversaries in litigation; and in anticipating their clients' needs.

Reprinted with permission from the August 28 edition of The National Law Journal © 2017 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.