Marc Katz leads the Alumni Service Team of PILI’s Alumni Network Leadership Council. He served as a PILI Fellow in 2009 at the MacArthur Justice Center of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. During his Fellowship, Marc worked closely with the director of the clinic, Locke Bowman, on wrongful imprisonment and other civil rights claims. “Much of my research involved very careful, in-depth reviews of a couple of the most interesting, compelling cases in recent history,” he says. Marc tells the story of one client he worked with specifically, a man who was arrested and convicted of murder at age 18 based on speculation and questionable investigatory practices. “Alan’s story could have easily been mine, or anyone else I knew – just a young kid who was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Marc explains. “Meeting him 20 years later, deprived of his freedom for much of his adulthood, was an impactful reminder of how flawed the justice system is.” For Marc, this case in particular and his summer PILI Fellowship experience overall reinforced how important it is for attorneys to engage in public service.
After completing his time at the MacArthur Justice Center, Marc joined Jenner & Block, the firm that sponsored his PILI Fellowship, as an associate. He worked with their corporate group on securities and mergers & acquisitions, and also took several pro bono cases, including criminal trials as well as civil and corporate matters on behalf of charitable organizations. “Jenner is a great place for young attorneys to gain pro bono experience,” he says. Marc has since left the firm and now works as Corporate Counsel at CareerBuilder, LLC where he handles international corporate matters, including acquisitions, corporate governance and structuring, and data privacy matters.
Now that he is in-house, Marc has found engaging in pro bono to be more of a challenge. That’s why he has stayed connected to PILI and is now excited to lead PILI’s new Alumni Service Team. “The Service Team was a great opportunity to incorporate more public interest into my career,” he says. “By organizing events where PILI Alumni and friends of PILI can engage with the community and provide legal aid, the Service Team and participants will get to make a difference in the community for those in need.” And, more than simply planning one-time service opportunities, the Alumni Service Team also helps train new pro bono leaders. As Marc explains, “each member of the team can gain experience in organizing similar projects for their own colleagues. In essence, service team members can contribute to the community exponentially.”
Marc credits his PILI Fellowship working with Locke Bowman at the MacArthur Justice Center with helping him learn early how to be creative in his legal work. “I was asked to research theories, defenses, and claims that were not well established,” he explains. “My experiences in law school did not allow for such creativity, but it’s a tool I use on a daily basis at CareerBuilder.” On top of this, he also says his PILI Fellowship helped him learn to take ownership of his work, to test new approaches and learn for himself how to efficiently complete tasks. “A lot of young attorneys struggle without experience, so having a summer before working at a firm where I was able to learn that skill was invaluable,” he says.
In addition to leading PILI’s Alumni Service Team, Marc is also founding member of PILI’s Giving Circles and attends PILI Alumni fundraising events to support the PILI Alumni Campaign. He will be at the PILI Alumni Reunion Reception next week and encourages everyone else to come too. Why? “Mostly because I’ll be there!” he says. “I can’t think of a better way to spend your Wednesday night.”