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Up & Coming Honorees: Sarah Smith Kuehnel, 34

Of Counsel, Ogletree Deakins, St. Louis

sarah-smith-kuehnelPractice Area: Employment law

Law School: Washington University

As a military spouse, Sarah Smith Kuehnel works reduced hours for Ogletree Deakins, but you wouldn’t know it from her robust track record. She graduated in 2009 from Washington University School of Law and now specializes in labor and employment law, with an expertise in employee wage-garnishment in all 50 states. Her husband’s position in the U.S. Army Special Forces has required her to change residences several times and move to reduced-hours status, yet that hasn’t stopped her from emerging as the de facto leader of the firm’s associates in the St. Louis and Tampa offices. She also played a role in convincing Missouri legal authorities to adopt a rule allowing military spouses to “waive into“ The Missouri Bar while in the state on their spouse’s military orders.

What advice do you have for young lawyers?

See the big picture early and keep it in mind always. More importantly, do not take yourself or anything else too seriously.

What is the best career advice you have received?

Too much to pick just one piece of advice, but this guidance come to mind:

  • Slow down and take your time. A thorough job is better than a rushed job.
  • Our clients do not pay us to tell them what not to do; instead, we advise of the risks, provide our recommendations, and let them decide.
  • Go to happy hour, there’s always more work.
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