An individual acknowledgment of me is really a reflection of being surrounded by a consistently great team, long term. It may seem cliché to say so, but I have been fortunate to, first, have had hard-working professional colleagues in my early days, and later, to have had a hand in building up a team of first-rate attorneys, paraprofessionals, and staffers to do high-level work.
As a subject-matter expert, you routinely deliver presentations on international insolvency matters, creditors’ rights, enforcement of judgments (both domestic and foreign), assorted bankruptcy topics, workouts and secured transactions. How do you prepare for these presentations?
I am admittedly a legal information junkie, so I am constantly consuming articles, advance sheets, webinars, and the like. If you stay on top of new developments it is far easier to prepare for a presentation. As far as the actual delivery of the information, I try to find a way to explain the material in a conversational way and give examples that are likely to occur.
Why do you think it is important for attorneys like yourself to get involved in public speaking related to their subject-matter expertise?
There are two benefits about speaking on topics you know well. Firstly, it is an opportunity to practice the methods of conveying that information to a captive audience. Today, you may present to a room of conference attendees, and tomorrow it might be the judge in your most important case. Secondly, for litigators, this kind of public speaking creates credibility both in the market for clients, as well as interactions with the other participants in the case.
When did you know you wanted to practice law? Was it something you always aspired to do?
I thought about law school and practicing law while in my undergraduate studies. I was working toward my finance degree, took a class in business law and it just made complete sense. I had no lawyers in my family, so the joke was that my struggles with calculus led me to the law.
Who has had the biggest influence on your law career?
In both my legal career and my life, I have been most influenced by my wife. She is a brilliant health care lawyer and she is the best sounding board for me.
What advice would you give to young lawyers who are deciding what type of law they want to practice?
My first piece of advice is to be brutally honest with yourself. I mean your real self, not the person you want to be or the person your friends or family think you are or want you to be. For instance, if you detest confrontation, it will be a hard lift to be a successful trial lawyer. A process of elimination can also come in handy, such as litigation versus transactional. Even within litigation, can you project yourself working in an area dominated by statutes and regulations (think tax, health care, bankruptcy, environmental), or would you be better suited for a more fact-intensive litigation area (think negligence, injury, and other torts)?