How I Made Partner: Milbank’s Nelly Almeida


Photo: Shutterstock

Office: New York.

Practice area: Financial restructuring.

Law school and year of graduation: University of Michigan Law School (2011).

How long have you been at the firm? Four years and two months.

How long were you an associate at the firm? Four years.

Were you an associate at another firm before joining your present firm? I was an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges before joining Milbank in December 2015.

What year did you make partner at your current firm? I became a partner at Milbank January 2020.

Nelly Almeida. Nelly Almeida.

What’s the biggest surprise you experienced in becoming partner? I’m not sure surprise is the right word, but the other partners have been extremely supportive and welcoming and have made the transition feel seamless. In addition, the restructuring community has shown and continues to show, tremendous support, which has been nice to experience.

What do you think was the deciding point for the firm in making you partner? Someone once told me that to become partner at a law firm one must know the law, be willing to put in the hours, and excel at client management. In addition to checking all three boxes, the breadth and depth of my experience (both personal and work) has set me up with the tools I need to successfully navigate challenging matters and situations. I not only understand my client’s goals but I always try to understand where all parties are coming from. One of my key strengths is the ability to appreciate varying perspectives and personalities.

Describe how you feel now about your career now that you’ve made partner. Pretty good.  My father used to tell me that you are successful in your career when what you are good at doing and what you like to do become the same thing. I’ve always loved what I do and although I believe I have been good at it for some time now, making partner just reaffirmed that belief—and proved my father’s theory, of course.

I also feel thankful for the people in my life that have contributed to my success. This includes not only my family, but the many mentors I have had along the way. I have always tried to “give back” and do my best to teach, train, and mentor young associates. Now that I am a partner, I feel that I have an even greater responsibility to help train and mentor associates. Not only is it a good thing to do but, in the long run, proper associate training and mentoring benefits everyone.

What’s the key to successful business development in your opinion? Follow through. Just like following through with an assignment can make all the difference, following through with your commitments is key to building strong relationships. It is important for clients to trust that they can rely on you, the deadlines you set, and the commitments you make to them.

What’s been the biggest change, day-to-day, in your routine since becoming partner? Honestly, I am not sure there is a change to my routine yet.  Maybe that will change over the course of the year.

Who had the greatest influence in your career that helped propel you to partner? Dennis Dunne, the head of the financial restructuring group at Milbank and a member of the executive committee at the firm.

Dennis has been supportive of my career from the moment I started at Milbank and that support has been invaluable. In addition to being an exceptional mentor and sponsor, Dennis has always taken the time to meet with me and discuss my work, progress, and experience at Milbank.  I look forward to continuing to work with and learn from Dennis.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give an associate who wants to make partner? Make sure you are clear about what your goals are. You never want to give people the opportunity to make assumptions about what you want . . . or don’t want.


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References

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