|George Kimmet, L’09, has a laugh with|
his mom, Hilda Thomas, on his big day.
When George Kimmet, L’09, was a teenager, he erased the word fence from his vocabulary.
Kimmet grew up on a buffalo ranch in northern Wyoming, with the closest town thirty miles away. The summer when he was fifteen, his mother hired him to string and tie lines of barbed wire to the metal fence posts surrounding the ranch. The sun broiling overhead, his arms aching and covered with bleeding scratches, ants crawling up his legs, he vowed to forge his future away from farms and fences.
“I saw people working with their hands all the time and all I wanted was to get a job and move to the city,” he remembers.Today at 25 years old, Kimmet is fulfilling that vow. In January he will start as a junior litigation associate with Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe in Manhattan. Kimmet said he was drawn to Orrick because the firm gives “young associates a lot of freedom and responsibility early on in their careers” and has a laid-back corporate culture.
Although he studied accounting as an undergraduate and received a certificate from Wharton, Kimmet spent a summer at Orrick that piqued his interest in other areas of litigation like patent infringement, product liability cases for pharmaceutical companies, toxic torts, and securities litigation. Over the last several years, he has come to prefer litigation to transactional work because “it feels more like lawyering” with its emphasis on legal writing and research.
At Penn, an emerging interest in civil procedure steered Kimmet down the path of corporate law, away from his former interest in sports management. In spite of establishing a career trajectory early on, he brought the same no-fences approach to Penn Law that led him to leave the ranch.
Kimmet completed two independent study projects on local institutions. Under former Professor Wendell Pritchett’s supervision, Kimmet worked as a general counsel for the Philadelphia school district. A trip to Eastern State Penitentiary inspired the second project with Professor Sarah Gordon. While touring the former prison with a friend, Kimmet learned that Quakers pioneered solitary confinement as a more humane alternative to hard labor. In his paper, Kimmet explored the history of the church’s relationship to prisoner reform, based on the belief that people can reform themselves through communion with God, as well as contemporary faith-based programs.
Although Kimmet is committed to a career in litigation, he hasn’t completely fenced off his teenage aspirations of working with a major league baseball or a players’ union someday.
To some degree, Kimmet already has some experience to apply towards that move. When he was 16, he pitched himself to a minor league baseball club in Billings, Montana that is affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. The letter got him to first base when the general manager offered him a job as a gopher, allowing him to escape summers of hard labor on the ranch. For the next five summers, Kimmet returned to the club, eventually working his way up to clubhouse manager and then to official scorer.
In the offseasons, Kimmet graduated from high school and earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming before enrolling at Penn Law.
Although he is eager to establish his life in Manhattan, Kimmet will not start until January 2010. In the fall he plans to return home and work as a substitute teacher. “My interest in teaching came out of respecting teachers that I had in high school. Substitute teaching is an opportunity to give back to the public school system through which I came up,” he says.
With nearly a decade elapsed between his days as a ranch hand, Kimmet has come to appreciate the beauty and serenity of Clark, Wyoming. Describing his idyllic childhood, he wrote, “My childhood home lies in the shadow of the Beartooth Mountains; a creek flows so close to my house that on a quiet night the sound of flowing water joined the crickets as I fell asleep. My home is so far from anywhere that the night sky is unpolluted by artificial lights; a full moon casts a crisp shadow.
My favorite part was the buffalo themselves. Powerful, athletic, intelligent, they gave excitement to my upbringing.”
Headed for a career in the city, Kimmet is thrilled at the opportunity to reconnect briefly with his hometown in the country.
Law School CV
Participated in the ABA National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition
Offered services to the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program