With a passion for debate and resolving complex intellectual problems from an early age, Christopher Klimmek was not initially planning on becoming an attorney. "I wanted to be a philosopher," he recalls. But in hindsight, Chris' high school debate coach instilled in him something that paved the way for his career as a successful litigator: "Integrity is extremely persuasive."
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in philosophy, Chris spent two years in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer before applying to law school. Assigned to a village with no electricity or running water, he studied for the LSAT by candlelight and took a bus for two days to take the exam at the U.S. Embassy in Ghana.
Back in the states and seated in his first class on civil procedure at Georgetown Law School, Chris knew he'd made the right choice. "I remember thinking of civil procedure as a really fun game, and I enjoyed the intricacies of putting together an argument," he said. His legal advocacy experience was further developed with an appellate court clerkship and a first job with a prominent firm in Washington, D.C., where he handled high-stakes matters for clients at the start of the financial crisis.
A member of Day Pitney's Complex Commercial Litigation practice, Chris' experience in client advocacy and "making a good argument" provides the foundation for his practice today, representing large corporations in complex litigation and arbitration proceedings. In recent years, he has creatively leveraged his passion for analytical rigor to reach successful outcomes for clients in some of their most critical matters.
Clients appreciate Chris' diligence and problem-solving abilities. "When faced with a difficult issue without a clear answer, he develops a thoughtful plan of attack and proceeds expeditiously," said one client, the associate general counsel of a Fortune 50 company. "I enjoy working with Chris because of how well he operates in a team atmosphere."
To Chris, the more complex and higher stakes the case, the better. Among the more intricate cases, he recently represented a nationwide energy company in an arbitration proceeding arising from power purchase agreements. That case resulted in an award rejecting his opponent's claim and sustaining the client company's counterclaim in full. "I like to litigate cases that are complex and challenging enough that they need to be treated as if there's never been another case like it," he said.
Chris enjoys preparing for each case. With his collaborative approach, he talks through nuanced legal points with other Day Pitney litigators to make an argument stronger and more persuasive. "You take things that are good and make them great," Chris said.
Many people have played an influential role in the development of his career as a litigator, but most often, the lesson he learned from his high school debate coach is his guiding post. "There are a lot of persuasive techniques, but at the end of the day, most decision-makers can tell whether you know what you're talking about," Chris said. "Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to litigation and debate."