Martin takes helm as 4th chair in Jenner & Block's 105-year history

By Karen Kidd | Jan 26, 2019

Craig Martin   Photo courtesy of Jenner & Block

"It's a great day to be a lawyer," the newest chair of the over a century-old law firm Jenner & Block said during a recent interview.

Operating in today's highly competitive legal and business market, Craig Martin said during a Cook County Record email interview it's a time that is "challenging, but it also presents great opportunities."

This month, Jenner & Block announced Martin's appointment as the fourth chair in the firm's 105-year history, joining previous chairs Albert Jenner, Jerold Solovy and Anton Valukas.

"For those of us at Jenner & Block, we have the opportunity to represent our clients at the highest levels of law and business in their most important matters, and we do that time and time again," Martin said. "It's a privilege to do so."

Having spent his 30-year career at Jenner & Block, Martin was previously chair of the firm's 400-lawyer Litigation Department. He is a nationally recognized litigator in dozens of state and federal court cases, according to the firm's announcement. As the firm's chair, he will work with members of Jenner & Block's leadership "to help drive the firm's client-centric strategy, which is built on its commitment to delivering unparalleled excellence in high-impact disputes, investigations and transactions," the announcement said.

"We are excited to appoint Craig as chair of Jenner & Block," managing partner Terrence Truax said in the announcement. "Our partners are looking to Craig for his energy, focus and, very importantly, the strategic and client-centric approach to the marketplace he has applied to his work over many years."

Martin's appointment follows Jenner & Block's eye toward its future and "reflects the next generation of leadership at the firm," Martin said during his Cook County Record interview.

"We are very focused on how our firm continues to operate at the highest levels of the profession," he said. "My appointment as chair is a leadership position that is about having a clear vision and a long-term strategic focus on professional excellence in terms of what we do for our clients, expanding and deepening our relationships with our clients, as well as a focus on disciplined management with our clients and how we practice law."

Martin said he is standing "on the shoulders of great leaders before me," referring to Jenner & Block's first three chairs.

"I will continue to lead the firm's focus on its commitment to delivering unparalleled excellence in high-impact disputes, investigations and transactions," he said. "I'm also extremely committed to preserving our reputation as a pro bono and civic champion, as well as a firm known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Driving those values through the firm and letting clients and the broader community know what we are about is important."

Up-and-coming folks considering a career in the legal profession should have a passion for the law, Martin said.

"Everything starts from that," he said. "And practice, practice, practice. Being an impactful advocate for clients on their most important matters requires a depth, breadth and scope of experience that only comes from years of experience on those types of engagements. Beyond that, devote your time to civic, charitable, bar and pro bono work. These are the ways that you not only become a well-rounded person and lawyer, but it's how you deliver true value to your clients. Law is, in many ways, about integrity and judgment."

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