I come to my current practice of law at the end of an interesting journey. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley, and receiving my J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law, I chose corporate law, concentrating in venture capital and mergers and acquisitions. I was drawn to the challenge of structuring complex contracts, the intensity of negotiating those agreements and the excitement of closing a deal. And I was trained by excellent practitioners, at the top of their game, at leading firms, including McDermott, Will & Emery, and Schulte, Roth & Zabel LLP.
Did I learn a great deal? Check. Did I acquire a broad-based skill set in corporate law? Check. Yet, at the same time, the matters I worked on were so large, that I was left combing through thick financial agreements without ever a forming a meaningful client relationship. This type of practice stood in stark contrast to the idea of a well-rounded advisor that I had envisioned becoming when I began law school.
The implosion of the financial markets in 2008, though unnerving, gave me an opportunity to reset my career. Instead of sticking with a large firm or company, I decided to chart my own course in private practice. This would allow me to focus on the kinds of clients and engagements that interested me most.
One of my first choices was to focus on small to medium sized businesses. These representations enable me to truly engage with my clients, understand their issues, and act as a partner, advisor and advocate. Now, I currently act as outside general counsel to a number of businesses, from start-ups to established enterprises with numerous employees. I cherish these relationships, and feel honored that these companies have chosen me to be a part of their growth and success.
On the flip side, I have developed an employment law practice, with an emphasis on what are known as wage and hour cases. I first became involved in these kinds of cases when an old acquaintance approached me with a problem: he and all his co-workers had been stiffed on their pay by the owners of the restaurant they worked as waiters. I took their case on pro bono and convinced the owners to pay the workers all their unpaid wages. Unfortunately, their situation was not unique: There seems to be no end of owners or managers willing to systematically deprive workers out of their due compensation, precisely for the reason that these people often lack the means to fight back. I enjoy and have become all too familiar with the process of doing just that, often helping larger numbers of clients press their case for retroactive compensation. My business clients get the benefit of this experience as I am able to effectively counsel them to remain within the bounds of the law.
As counselor and advocate, my practice is now much closer to the vision I had when starting law school.
Of course, I recognize that my clients may sometimes need expertise I do not have. As warranted by the circumstances, I partner with a select group of attorneys who have other areas of focus.