Sergio Urías – CUP Member Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I’m a corporate attorney that focuses on Latin America and Private Equity at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Growing up in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, I knew from an early age that I had a talent for math and finance. With uncanny certainty, I decided at 18 to combine my natural skills with an education in law. I’m a Mexican-American, so I have a lot of ties to Latin America, so it seemed like a perfect fit.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?
As a lawyer you always have to be one step ahead of your client and foresee a lot of unknowns, and that’s always challenging. Another challenge is balancing the work load, because it’s hard to predict the timing therefore you always have to be on call.

What is your proudest achievement?
A few of my proudest achievements are making partner here at the firm, continuing to grow the practice, and I, along with the help of friends and colleagues -- started a New York based nonprofit organization called Project Paz Inc. The main goals of Project Paz are to raise awareness and promote peace in Juarez and to raise funds for programs related to social awareness and the eradication of violence.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
Some leaders I admire most are my parents and Albert Einstein, specifically his view on resilience and how people excel during crisis.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I want to continue growing the Latin America practice at the firm, and to continue to provide top notch services to our clients and to grow the practice. And second, to continue to grow the non-profit, to increase funds and grow the impact.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
Focus on the big picture and the long term goals, but be flexible and spend more time focusing on the short term challenges that will bring you to that end goal. Don’t be shy in asking for help. Accept failures by learning from them.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?
At Kirkland & Ellis we recently started a program called the “ALLSA program” which is basically a Law School Outreach initiative. I specifically act as liaison to the Latino law students associations at Harvard and Columbia, so that he might be a resource with whom students feel an affiliation.