November 11, 2021 / Q&A

Q&A with Jim King

Jim King is a partner in the firm's Litigation Department and co-chairs the firm’s Government Contracts practice. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and serves as the chair of the firm’s Veterans Affinity Group. From 1988 to 1992, he served as an Assistant to the General Counsel in the Office of the Secretary of the Army.

Why did you pick the service branch you joined?

I joined the Army as part of an ROTC scholarship I received for college. My father was an officer in the Army and, frankly, I never considered the other services when applying for the scholarship. For me, it was always the Army.

How did your service prepare you for your career as a lawyer?

The Army teaches you a lot of things that I carry with me as a lawyer. Attention to detail, being on time, taking initiative, backwards planning and being committed to the mission are all skills and lessons the Army instills in you. These are things that have helped me in my career and have made me a better lawyer. 

How has serving in the military impacted the way you lead others today?

I have zero patience for selfishness. Service above self is something that the Army insists on and something that I really believe. As a lawyer, my service is to my clients. And as a litigator, what guides my work is commitment to the needs of the case. I believe that if our focus is on the needs of the case and providing the best service we can for our clients, everything will work out in the end. When we turn our attention to ourselves and what the case can do for me, we inevitably stumble.

Do you have advice for others transitioning out of the military into the legal industry?

Focus on the mission. Again, the mission is the case. And your service is to your clients, not yourself.

Is there a routine that you learned that you continue after you left the military?

In the Army, the days start very early. There was a recruiting commercial that played on TV in the 1980s that said basically, in the Army, you do more before 9 a.m. than most do in a single day. That is true. But by the same token, when darkness falls, you are wiped out. My days as an attorney are very similar. I am usually up by 4:30 or 5 a.m. every day. But my day ends typically at a decent hour, even when I am in trial. I don’t pull all-nighters.