My great-uncle, the entertainer George Burns, encouraged me to go to law school and become a lawyer.
The inspiration for my legal practice representing College and University Presidents, Heads of Independent Schools and Deans, Provosts and other senior academic leaders, were the many wonderful teachers I had at Harvard Law School, Harvard College and Western Reserve Academy. I consider it a privilege to assist today’s educational leaders.
After my second year at Harvard Law School, my first professional experience was a
summer clerkship at a large Los Angeles law firm. The senior partner of that firm
advised me that if I wanted to become an expert contract negotiator, I should start my career by handling as many commercial disputes as possible. He said, “The best way to learn how to negotiate and draft a good contract is to see what actually happens when contracts are fought over: you learn what each clause of a contract means, what works and what doesn’t work, and how to express in writing the details of a deal which may not be tested until years later.”
I took his advice. Following law school I went to a large New York law firm, where I was fortunate enough to become trial assistant to the legendary Louis Nizer, author of My Life in Court. Mr. Nizer was a wonderful role model for a young lawyer. He insisted on meticulous preparation and attention to detail. He also was a lawyer who genuinely cared for his clients’ best interests. Ethical, firm and decisive, Mr. Nizer was never less than fair and courteous. I don’t remember ever hearing him raise his voice, and it is this type of professionalism that I have always tried to emulate. A good lawyer should achieve the best possible result for the client while discouraging the client from doing anything self-destructive or short-sighted.
When I started my own law firm I continued to litigate, successfully representing
business and individual clients in jury trials and arbitrations involving employment and other contracts as well as employment discrimination and other employment conflicts. Over a number of years, I then transitioned exclusively into deal-making, concentrating on “hirings and firings” of senior executives—the negotiation of executive employment agreements and separation agreements. This is what we now do for executives in academic as well as commercial settings.
In addition to holding a law degree from Harvard Law School, I graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College. I am admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut. I have been rated A-V (highest skills and ethical ratings) by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Service for more than 30 years.