I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1972 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. I came to California right after graduating and started working in the Beverly Hills branch of a national CPA firm, then known as Seidman and Seidman and now known as BDO Seidman. I practiced accounting for two years, became a Certified Public Accountant (now inactive), and enrolled at UCLA Law School.
While at UCLA Law School, I interned with United States Department of Justice-Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force. They liked my accounting background, because most of their investigations concerned pension fraud.. I was worried about being killed by the Mafia, but the agents told me not to worry, attorneys were rarely killed. They were too easily replaced. Now witnesses, on the other hand, that was another matter.
The Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force is a special group of prosecutors, authorized by Federal statutes, that has multi-state jurisdiction necessary to prosecute multi-state conspiracies. The office in Los Angeles had ten special attorneys, as they were called. These ten attorneys supervised the work of 150 agents, mainly comprised of F.B.I. agents, but also including agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the IRS, Secret Service, and other Federal investigative agencies.
As the special attorneys fondly noted, the pay was poor but the power was awesome. Few attorneys in private practice have the resources at their disposal these special attorneys have. On the other hand, everything else was contracted out to the lowest bidder. We wrote with number 2 pencils and had no law books older than 1963. I usually ate lunch with F.B.I. agents across the street at the Bob’s Jr. when I was not listening to and making abstracts of intercepted telephone communications.
Upon graduation, I worked for several boutique law firms on the west side of Los Angeles, principally as a real estate transaction lawyer with a particular sensitivity to tax issues. Eventually I formed a firm in Century City. For approximately 30 years, I practiced in Century City.
How I Like to Work
I generally like to quarterback the team working for the client. I feel my experience and varied background help keep the outlook broad.
I tend to enjoy very collaborative relationships with my clients. I am absolutely comfortable providing a client with drafts of every letter and document before they are sent so that they can be revised and re-revised to reflect the tenor as well as the substance appropriate to the situation. It goes without saying that a client will receive a copy of every letter and document we send out, and everything we receive on the client’s behalf.
We never forget we are our client’s representative, and we are frequently engaged at the beginning of a relationship our client is looking to establish. It is not our job to vaporize that relationship.