LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2020: Katie Marschke

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IL photo/Eric Learned

Big deals are no big deal for Katie Marschke, who manages large-portfolio transactions for real estate clients nationwide. She’s represented clients in retail property deals worth more than $100 million. She’s also invested in making room for young legal professionals, especially women, to meet their professional, personal and philanthropic goals. Marschke also is active in community and civic efforts as a member of the board of Partnership for Affordable Housing and as a founding member of Young Professionals for a Cure, part of the Susan G. Komen Central Indiana breast cancer nonprofit.

What is your favorite thing about your real estate practice?

Real estate developers are integral to shaping our communities. Their decision to build or rehabilitate a certain type of apartment community, office building or retail development determines where people live, work and shop, and ultimately how our communities thrive. As a real estate attorney, I am proud to be a small part of that process.

Why are you so interested in steering younger attorneys toward community involvement?

It is so easy to get caught up in what’s right in front of us, but we cannot live our lives in such a vacuum. I see “community involvement” as the adult equivalent of participating in sports and clubs in high school. Sure, school and work require a lot of time and dedication, but that doesn’t make a very well-rounded person. Being involved in the community allows you to use your current skills to benefit a greater purpose, socialize and expand your depth of understanding and experience. Volunteering or being on a board also helps you stay informed on what is happening in your community and provides an opportunity to help shape the future of those communities.

What do you most like to do when you have free time?

Honestly, I’m a homebody. I like to spend time with my husband and dog, travel, visit extended family, bake, read cooking magazines, and binge-watch TV (what did we do before Netflix?).

What got you interested in serving on the board of the Partnership for Affordable Housing?

Partnership for Affordable Housing is a not-for-profit that develops low-income housing communities across Indiana. PAH sets itself apart by the additional services it provides to its residents, ranging from classes to help improve interview skills to book clubs and Zumba classes. This organization has very little overhead and the board is presently only four people. It is a pleasure to be part of such a small organization that makes such a large impact on so many people’s lives.

Who is someone who mentored you, and what did you learn from them?

I have been very fortunate to have several mentors over the different stages of my career. When I was in my first few years, the senior associates all looked out for me and taught me everything from basic litigation skills to life in a big firm. When I transitioned into real estate, several of the partners quickly became trusted sounding boards and advisers. Blake Schulz, Phil Bayt, Jeff Dack and Jason McNiel are people that have always taken the time out of their busy schedules to guide me on the right path. Each one has a different perspective and opinion, and they aren’t shy about telling it like it is. Not only have they taught me everything I know about real estate from a substantive perspective, but they also have helped me see how I can make being an attorney not just a job but a career. The most significant impact they have had on my career to date is showing me there is no “one size fits all” career, and that work should have an element of fun. They all have had wildly different practices and personal lives, yet they are all extremely successful and happy.

If you could change one law in Indiana, what would that be?

Each local municipality has unique characteristics that are best understood and served by those closest to the situation. I believe that is partly why zoning laws and procedures vary widely. However, certain aspects could be streamlined, such as the process for subdividing parcels or filing a plat and whether those processes are politically driven or not.

What do you get from mentoring younger attorneys?

The best type of mentoring happens organically, and with that usually comes a type of friendship. That friendship is often a two-way-street. I am happy to help share my mistakes and flaws with younger attorneys so they can learn to avoid them or so we can commiserate about similar experiences. In doing so, I also learn from their mistakes and am presented opportunities to educate myself on new areas so I can be a better mentor. It is important to have strong, confident and happy attorneys coming up the ranks. All too soon they won’t be the “young” attorneys.

Where do you see yourself professionally in another 10 years?

If all goes well, I will be a partner in Ice Miller’s real estate practice group. I have enjoyed growing up at Ice Miller and would like to continue my career here. I hope to establish myself as a trusted adviser for a variety of clients, as well as younger associates.

What do you think you might be doing if you weren’t a lawyer?

I would be a pastry chef and/or would own my own bakery.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Love the job you do, but don’t let that be the only thing you do. As attorneys, most of us are overachievers and have a strong need to be the top of the class and earn that A grade. In school you did your homework and did a great job at it, but when the homework was done, you were done. Work in the real world is never done, though, and there is always something to do. Emails fly around at all hours and the impulse to immediately respond can be overwhelming. It is all too easy to let work consume you, and the anxiety and stress become overpowering. It took me several years to come to this seemingly simple conclusion, and I’m a much better attorney because of it.•
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