I Did Not Always Know I Wanted to Be a New York Business Attorney
Particularly in light of my childhood background. In terms of who I am personally, I was born in 1973 in Southampton, New York, to a local family. I am the eldest, and I have two younger brothers. My mother was a home maker until my brothers and I were in high school (she home schooled my two younger brothers for several years), and then she started working for herself selling Tupperware, and now she teaches swimming lessons in Manhattan and in the Hamptons, and she is also a licensed massage therapist. My father was a residential home builder who put my brothers and me to work at a very young age. We had an organized “chore chart” – well before the days of Microsoft Excel – with color coded tasks and who was supposed to do what by when, from taking out the trash, to washing the dishes, to vacuuming, and so on. We would also do carpentry around the house, and we would go to jobsites and work. My father always wanted us to have a basic understanding of the carpentry trade, in case something happened and we needed to rely on ourselves for shelter, either long term or short term.
One particularly fun fact is that my parents were what could best be characterized as hippies. Very easy going, very loving, very friendly, with good heads on their shoulders. Southampton, NY, is a beach community in the summer time, and in the winter time gets cold and snows; it has all four seasons. During the summer time, true to their hippy tendencies, my parents had us all live in a camper on the beach; it was a mobile camper, and whenever the local police would ask us to leave one beach, we would just go camp out on another beach. Then, if it got too much, we would go camp out in the woods for a few days, and then return to the beach. Come to think of it, my mother took us to the beach every day, all four seasons — we were three boys with lots of energy, and the beach was a great outlet.
Growing up, I played team sports in middle school and high school, football, basketball, and baseball. I wasn’t very good at any of them, but it was a lot of fun. Also growing up I was on a sailing team, my parents had several boats (my father did pretty well as we got older, and he was able to buy and then fix wooden sailboats, his passion at the time), and I had lots of different jobs, from working in a fish market, to being a carpenter’s helper, to being a kitchen prep boy for local restaurants, to an estate caretaker, to being a waiter and bartender, to running my own car detailing business.
I graduated from high school in 1991, then I immediately went to school at SUNY Albany for two years, and then I transferred to the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature. I was active in the community, joining the Spanish Theater Group, where we would travel and perform at a dozen or so locations each year, mostly different universities.
I graduated from the University of Virginia in 1995, and immediately moved to San Luis Obispo, California, where I sold educational books door to door, and was in the 20% in terms of sales. Thereafter, I recruited for the company for several months, and then moved back to Sag Harbor, NY, to be with family. I started law school in 1998, did my first year at Syracuse University College of Law, and then transferred to Georgetown University Law Center, where I graduated in 2001. I have been practicing law in New York ever since.
When I graduated law school, I wanted to practice code-based law, in particular, securities law. I had no interest in being in Court, and all I wanted to do was push paper at a big New York law firm. After three years or so of doing that, I decided that pushing paper like that was not really my thing, and after a few years, I moved into the large corporate bankruptcy and restructuring group at the same firm. From there, I was recruited to another big New York law firm, where I got my first taste of being a New York litigator, and I have been a New York business attorney, and I have not looked back, since then.