Amy Wollensack, Esq.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
New York City
After four years in nursing, Amy Wollensack was ready for a change. “Law always seemed like a challenging and intellectually rewarding career path, so when the opportunity arose, I was thrilled to attend law school,” Wollensack says. She received her Juris Doctor in 2007 from Washington University School of Law and joined the international law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP. A partner in the firm’s M&A/Private Equity group, she handles complex transactions such as leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, divestitures, and debt, equity and mezzanine financings. The firm prides itself in community service, where Wollensack is very involved.
Wollensack was 14 and a volunteer at a local hospital when she committed to helping others. Now 35, she has been recognized by her firm for pro bono services to those in need of legal assistance. She serves on the Young Leader-
ship Committee of Lighthouse International, a leading nonprofit dedicated to fighting vision loss. “When I was a first-year associate I realized that I wanted to stay involved in the community no matter how busy I got. So I took a board membership class at the United Way and met Lighthouse as a result,” she recalls.
Changing careers does not render your early training useless, says Wollensack, who has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Richmond and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University. “It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t lose your knowledge and skills from your prior field by moving to a new one. You’ve just given yourself more options,” she says. Wollensack believes her time as a nurse better equipped her to deal with fast-paced, high-stakes M&A practice. “You’ve got to have great judgment, be able to think on your feet and adapt quickly to changing circumstances in both fields,” she says.