If you weren’t a business development consultant, what would you be doing?
I would be an author, speaker, and consultant who would help young professionals find a career and life they love. It seems as though any time you pick up a newspaper or magazine lately, you can find an article about how Millennials are struggling after graduation to find fulfilling careers and make smooth transitions into adulthood. I would combine my passion for speaking and training to help fellow young professionals build a strong personal brand and formulate a plan to identify and accomplish their personal and professional goals.
You’ve suffered through blizzard conditions recently on the East Coast. How do you cope?
Stay indoors as much as possible, wear warm clothes even in the house, keep a fire going in the fireplace, and keep plenty of food on hand along with lots of good scotch and fine wine.
What are you reading now? Do you have a favorite author/genre?
I just finished two books about Abraham Lincoln. I am fascinated by leadership and history. Lincoln’s leadership skills were amazing. The book, Team of Rivals, explores his leadership style. I have been writing a blog called “Conversations with Sam” in which I explore legal issues, personal issues, and business issues. The “Sam” refers to my grandfather who was a prominent New York lawyer and head of the family. My nickname is Sam.
While reading the two books on Lincoln, especially Team of Rivals, I came across seven leadership principles that my grandfather and Abraham Lincoln had in common. Here is the list.
1) Lincoln never purposely humiliated anyone and was magnanimous in victory. Why make someone an enemy when later in life you may need that person?
2) He picked the best people, never worrying that they might outshine him.
3) He was humble, letting people discover on their own what a great leader he was. This humility prevented needless rivalries. It also caused people to underestimate him.
4) He carefully prepared the people around him and the public for changes that were coming. He stayed ahead of them, but not so far ahead that they could not follow him. His sense of timing was excellent.
5) He had a moral compass that told him which direction to go. This compass allowed him to be pragmatic while adapting to changing times without losing his way.
6) He was continually growing as a human being and did not stick to ideas and opinions that he had outgrown.
7) Although Lincoln sought advice, in the end he kept his own counsel and made his own decisions. He had confidence in his own decision-making ability, which gave people around him the same sense of confidence. People wanted to follow him.
My grandfather had many of the same qualities, which made him a successful lawyer and counselor to multiple businesses. All great leaders, whether leading a small business or a country, would benefit from using these principles.
[Editor’s Note: The author’s article, “Valuing a Business in Divorce,” appeared in the January 2014 issue.]
What would you do for a living if not practicing law?
I’d like to think I’d be an artist, but I’ve been cursed with stubby, shaky little fingers. The nubs don’t seem to have trouble with typing, though, so I’d probably be a writer. It wouldn’t be that much different from being a lawyer, I think. I’ve written a couple books, and I’m a pleadings-focused lawyer; I write thousands of words every day for my small law practice.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m an absolute travel gadabout. Addicted to it. It’s incurable. I love traveling to other countries, climbing mountains, learning languages, and eating toasted grasshoppers or whatever else this fascinating world has to offer. So, if I couldn’t unseat Anthony Bourdain and if I wasn’t practicing law, I might write about travel instead.
I also had a short-lived career as an archaeologist before going to law school, and all my nonlegal education is in art and archaeology. So, perhaps I’d go back to something in that area. I imagine that’d give me plenty of opportunity to travel, eat bugs, and write prolifically. Sounds like a trifecta of awesome to me.
What is one of the top unconventional lessons you’ve learned about law practice (so far)?
com lbodine lawmarketing Larry Bodine, National Trial Lawyers Association, Tucson, Ariz.
The most likely way that clients will look at your website is with a smartphone, now that 60 percent of adults own one. Unfortunately, most law firm websites are unreadable on a two-inch screen, so they lose all those potential leads. Responsive design makes a website fit a small screen, and Google recommends the approach. I revamped my online presence with a LawLytics site so that it looks great on a cell phone.
The most likely way that clients will look at your website is with a smartphone.
What would you tell a young relative who was thinking about going to law school?
com mmoore moores-law Michael F. Moore, Moore’s Law, Milwaukee.
A law school education is an excellent tool to have regardless of whether you ever actually practice law. My own career has moved from private practice to general counsel to business executive and back to law firm management. My law school training has been helpful at every step.
The costs to attend law school are a concern, however, because loading up on student loan debt is a challenging way to begin any career. I was fortunate to work at a small law firm during school and learn practical applications for my legal training. Many of the lawyers I work with now as a career coach were never educated in the business side of what it takes to be a successful lawyer in private practice. Law schools that offer practical skills courses and job opportunities with local law firms would be the best option as the market for new lawyers continues to be challenging.
I would be ready to help with networking and job search skills for any relative, just as I do for many law students currently.
You’re a native Spanish-speaker but you also speak English and French. Where did you grow up and how did you get interested in languages?
From my father. Being from Puerto Rico, Spanish is the native language of the island and therefore I was exposed to it every day. I began to learn English at an early age at school as it is mandatory for all schools to teach English in Puerto Rico. I was fortunate enough that I attended a private high-school in Puerto Rico where the staff was fully bilingual.
My father then enrolled me to learn French in middle school and this continued all the way to college. My father was a polyglot as he spoke English, Spanish and Latin. He believed that the road to success in life was through education. My father had a great library in the house that contained books from many famous authors and written in many different languages. He always encouraged me whenever I had a question on a word to seek for its origin and its meaning. I remember spending many hours in that library looking for words and reading great novels.
I still enjoy reading books in their original language and have been lucky enough to be able to use my knowledge of these three languages in both my private and professional career. Many people who have met me know that I love cross-word puzzles because of the challenge they bring but also for the opportunity for me to learn a new word at every chance.