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January 24, 2020

My Path to Partnership: Gillian Deutch

To kick off the new year, Nelson Mullins is featuring newly elected partners in a Q&A throughout the month of January. Join us in celebrating the firm’s newest partners by getting to know them.

Gillian Deutch, located in New York, focuses her practice in the area of real estate finance. A former of counsel, she joined the firm in 2015.

1. What has been the biggest hurdle you have overcome in your career?

I was a mid-level associate when the 2009 crash occurred, and I had remarked at the time that my career had been inadvertently reset back to zero. Although I was right, I was able to continue my career by modifying practice areas for a while, and when the market started to recover I moved back into my practice area again.

2. Describe how you feel about your career now that you’ve made partner.

Making partner has made me feel empowered — empowered to create business, to seek speaking and writing opportunities, and to encourage other women to keep advancing in their careers.

3. What are your key components to being successful in your career?

  • Enjoy your practice area: In hindsight, real estate and finance both make perfect sense for me, given that I spent hours as a child drafting floor plans and creating small towns on paper — and then later earned a degree in math.
  • Remain optimistic: There is always an emergency, a deadline, or something complicated that gives you pause. I try to always remain optimistic and address items head-on. 
  • Be flexible: You need to be constantly learning about changes in your own practice area and assisting outside of your practice area.
  • Maintain balance: Learn to balance a career with the rest of your life, whether that be finding a hobby (for me, traveling) or just carving out time to spend with family. When you learn to balance, you can come back energized and ready to tackle the next day’s issues.

4. Who had the greatest influence in your career that helped drive you to partnership?

I have worked with so many terrific attorneys and support staff over the years; I cannot name just one. Since joining Nelson Mullins 4 ½ years ago, I have felt so supported in my career by everyone around me, including Brad Denson, Steve Hantz, and Jay Suhr, and it was this support that helped drive me toward partnership. I also appreciate my husband Dan, who became a stay-at-home parent, which allowed me to work inconsistent hours without having to worry about childcare.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you would give an associate who wants to make partner?

It is important to occasionally step outside your practice area and challenge yourself. Those new skills will one day be transferrable. I have assisted M&A, corporate, fund formation, bankruptcy, and litigation attorneys in a variety of matters, and every new skill helped further my career. Another way to step outside of a practice area is through pro bono representation.