In the 40 years that I have been a lawyer, I have been very fortunate to have worked closely with many other people who were very good at what they did and who were willing to share some of what they knew with me.
I learned about the stock brokerage industry working as an attorney at Paine Webber and EF Hutton. I learned margin from the head of the margin department; trading from the traders on the trading desks and exchange floors; investment banking from the investment bankers.
Securities law can be nuanced and complex. A lawyer who is writing a prospectus does not have the same “vision” of the document as an attorney who is litigating about it. I have written offering documents for more than 150 syndicated financings. I have litigated over hundreds more. Understanding the corporate side of the transactions as well as I do has always made me a better litigator.
I was the General Counsel of a national real estate firm with $1.5 billion worth of properties under management before I was 40. When I returned to private practice, in the early 1990s, I split my time between teaching (at Golden Gate University in San Francisco) and working as an advocate, consultant and expert witness in securities arbitrations and more complex financial litigation.
Throughout, I have counseled start-ups and entrepreneurs across many industries. During the dot.com days, I was the adviser to several start-ups and served on the Board of Directors of one company until it was ready to hire full-time management. I find helping companies to raise capital and grow to be very satisfying.
I woke up one morning in 2011 with a bad stomachache. Three hours later they told me that I had leukemia. They also told me to put my affairs in order. I was fortunate to get world-class treatment from the doctors, nurses and staff at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. I learned that cancer is not for wimps. I fought my cancer. A lot of people with cancer do the same. I do not feel that it is right to call us cancer “survivors”. I prefer the term cancer conquistadors, instead.