Ep 4: Richard Supple | Hinshaw & Culbertson | Partner Departure Insights | Africa Travels | Mountain Climbing | Fiction Reading for Leaders

Ep 4: Richard Supple | Hinshaw & Culbertson | Partner Departure Insights | Africa Travels | Mountain Climbing | Fiction Reading for Leaders | Being a Parent 

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I interviewed Richard Supple of Hinshaw & Culbertson, the New York Managing partner and Co-leader Hinshaw’s Lawyers for Professionals where he and his team represent law firms and lawyers in professional ethics-related matters. Today we focused on the legal of law partner departures. We talked about law partners in management and the delicate dance they have when exploring new lateral opportunities. Why firms file claims against departing partners. What is the single most important issue for partners to think about when exploring a lateral move. We also talked about Richard’s world travels, his love for mountain climbing, what he is reading and being a parent.

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Links referred to in this episode

Richard Supple’s Web Bio

Mount Rainier

Author Haruki Murakami

Author Dave Eggers 

What is the What by Dave Eggers

Brazilian Drink: Caipirinha

Rio Carnival

Duke Basketball

Read Related Articles

Lateral Moves: A Guide for Partners and Law Firms

10 Reasons Why Law Partners are Leaving Your Firm

The Risks and Ethics of a Law Partner Departure 

The Anatomy of Law Partner Departure 

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Audio Transcription

Chris: Welcome to the Law Firm Leadership podcast, I’m your host Chris Batz with The Lion Group.

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Richard Supple of Hinshaw & Culbertson. Richard graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1989 and also received his undergrad from Duke University, Magna cum Laude. Richard is the partner in charge of the New York office and co-leader of Hinshaw’s Lawyers for Professionals, where he and his team represent law firms and lawyers in professional ethics related matters. Today though, we are going to focus on the stories and subjects related to the legal law partner departures.

Welcome Richard to the Law Firm Leadership podcast, I’m delighted to have you as our guest.

Richard: Thanks Chris, I’m happy to be here.

Chris: Yeah, so Richard, as we were talking before we started recording, I want to just jump right in to what’s hitting your desk and who you’re representing when it comes to partner departures, moves, I mean who’s hiring you these days?

Who Is Hiring Legal Counsel for Partner Departure Matters

Richard: Well, there’s a lot of activity these days and it’s kind of interesting, things are changing a bit in the market, but I’m seeing, coming across my desk, both as someone who hires for a law office and as someone who represents lawyers and law firms in departing partner situations, I’m seeing a lot of movement in areas of practice where lawyers are having more difficulty winning profit from what it is they do. Some of it is in the insurance space, some of it is in areas where traditionally lawyers have been representing individuals of sort of high-net-worth, it’s a little less in areas where the practice is more corporate and a lot of it has to do with the performance, at least as I see it, the performance of law firms, particularly those that are above the very top tier, the market is a little bit difficult these days, profit is a little harder to achieve, margins are a little bit squeezed and some of the higher performing lawyers in those settings are wondering and looking around and thinking about whether or not they can do better in another environment.

So, sometimes it’s just look and see, a lot of times though it is sort of active movement and as I said, I think it’s a little more below the very top tier, particularly some of the smaller firms that are just having a bit of a harder time than they were before, you know, making the kind of money that they want to make and that the partners in their firm are used to making.

Chris: And they’re approaching you. I know you mentioned that firms that are losing partners are wanting to hire you and that also partners that are leaving those firms. What’s coming up, why do they have the need to talk to you?

Why Talk to Legal Counsel During a Partner Departure

Richard: Well sometimes, let’s say in a situation where a firm that is losing a partner is hiring us, there are concerns that the partners will, in a sense, be taking a lot of business and other lawyers in the firm with them, leaving the remaining partners with situations like leases and other obligations, so they’re wondering, “What is it that we can do to protect ourselves from this?” Particularly if the departing partner had a leadership position in the firm, there may be some inquiries about whether or not that person should have disclosed his or her intention to at least consider leaving earlier in the process.

One representation that I did for a very large firm some time ago involved a person, in a somewhat similar situation to myself, who was the partner in charge of an office and considering her departure from the firm, it was also discussing lease renewals and other lateral moves into the firm that were somewhat inconsistent with her consideration of a departure.

So, it can be a fiduciary duty issue. In some senses like that it can be just panic that the firm is in trouble because it’s largest rainmakers are leaving. It can be questions about whether or not provisions in an LLP agreement for example are enforceable as to a return of contributed capital. It can be issues raised about attributable losses, depending on how the firm does its accounting and whether or not that creates issues or creates the kind of obstacles to departure that a court might find problematic. Sometimes there’s questions about whether the dispute resolution clause applies and things can be done in arbitration or whether there’s going to be a court action in a more egregious circumstance. Sometimes it’s just sort of a mental check as to how to make sure that it’s done the right way.

So, it’s a lot of different things, but usually the first call comes because people aren’t really sure particularly what it is that has to be done or what, both the problems are with a departure and the obligations and what the law says as to any obligations that the departing partners themselves has as to business that might remain with the firm that they’re leaving.

So, a lot of it is just checking in and making sure they understand what the landscape is that they’re dealing with.

Chris: Richard, what are some of the mistakes you’re seeing firms do when a partner is leaving, if there are any?

Mistakes Firms Make When Partners Depart

Richard: I think the first major mistake you see is, in terms of the kind of outreach and this is a mistake that goes in both directions. If you’re thinking about leaving, who can you talk to about that and when can you talk to them about that? That is an issue. Some of that really goes more to the departing partners, who when they’re talking to a new firm about potentially joining the firm, are tempted to disclose information that they may not be entitled to disclose about internal firm performance, associate compensation for those associates that they’re thinking of bringing over, things of that sort. That is one major issue you see, that is, as I just said, more on the departing lawyer’s side.

As for the firms that are being left, sometimes the communication with clients can be inappropriate, such as disparaging the lawyer who’s leaving in an effort to keep the business, which is not something that you’re really supposed to do. I think things of that sort.

Then there’s the question of adherence to, say an LLP agreement that might say that notice has to be, you know, particularly lengthy before departure; a month, two months, things of that sort, things that are pretty hard to enforce. The effort to enforce those sometimes can raise problems and difficulties to the firm that are unnecessary. Or also, provisions in the agreements as to timing for return of capital, whether those are done correctly or whether the capital is being held up as a disincentive for people to actually leave the firm. Those issues can come to the fore fairly quickly.

The firm often times reacts emotionally, particularly if it’s an important partner departure and things can be done and said before they have a chance to think clearly about it, that can create problems down the line.

Chris: Yeah, and you mentioned a really sensitive situation, where you’re talking about maybe an executive committee member, a management partner at a firm who is looking to find a different platform and yet you mentioned that person still was under fiduciary duty and yet he’s making management decisions but he’s also talking to new platforms. How does a partner handle that, how do they work that out delicately?

Richard: It’s really difficult I’ve got to say. The matter that I had that got to that issue directly, there isn’t a lot of very, very clear law on the question. There are some cases, particularly ones that have sort of egregious facts, such as the partner was instrumental in signing a new lease for expanded space, like right at the time that they were considering leaving, something that just has sort of an ick-factor to it, that would be problematic for that lawyer, in terms of the lawyer’s potential. But it’s really difficult because, when is that triggering event and we struggle to find that in the particular matter we’re eluding to? You know, was it when the partner first sort of thought beyond, sort of a flight of fancy that maybe now it’s time to look at somebody else? Is it the moment that they had the first conversation with either the recruiter or with the new law firm? Is it at a moment when they actually receive an offer? Those questions are very uncertain, because there isn’t a whole lot of law that defines them.

As I said, there’s some scattershot sort of factor-driven cases out there and there may be some commentary about that and a lot of the commentaries sort of devolves back to sort of general principles of fiduciary duty in corporate settings, but I think we all know that lawyers are sort of a different breed and the fact that they have, you can’t have a non-compete generally, that a lot of the information that you might want to be able to give to a potential new employer, in terms of allowing them to do due diligence and things like that, you’re not really allowed to do.

I mean, there is some spillover of course, between lawyers and other entities in that setting, but it’s real hard to recruit, it’s real hard to move laterally and it’s really hard to consider like when you should be telling, in effect your current firm, “Hey, you know what, maybe I should step back from the managerial role,” well of course, what does that mean? I mean you’re basically setting off, inadvertently, an alarm bell and you may not even be leaving and by doing that you may be injuring yourself.

So, I don’t have a great answer for that because it’s kind of a little bit like obscenity, you know it when you see it, if there’s sort of an egregious enough situation to make a fiduciary duty claim in a departing partner situation, the sort I’m describing, viable, but when that is, what that is, is a really good question. It wasn’t resolved in the matter that I described, because ultimately there was sort of an amicable resolution of the cases, but it’s tricky and I look forward to seeing a little bit better borders placed on what lawyers should and should not do in situations where they’re contemplating a move. That’s just not very well set right now.

Chris: Yeah, well let me ask you this question and you may have an answer right off the top of your head or a couple of answers, but when I want to help the audience understand, because I’m thinking there’s a lot of law partners listening, is when they ask me questions I always try to give them the most succinct answers so they have something in mind, because usually moves are premeditated but sometimes they’re caught off guard by recruiters calling or even another firm soliciting them. What is the single most important thing law partners need to keep in mind when making a lateral move?

What is the Single Most Important Thing Partners Need to Keep In Mind

Richard: Well, I think the single most important thing is to make sure that you’re not steering clients or taking action behind your current firm’s back, with respect to, sort of existing matters and existing firm personnel, aside from other partners who may want to come with you. The biggest problem that I sort of end up seeing people step into is, they give in, in a sense, to the temptation. Let’s say they have a longstanding client that’s been with them for many, many years and maybe across a couple of firms, I mean, it’s almost irresistible I imagine, particularly if you have the kind of relationship with that client where you talk colorfully about your current circumstances and maybe you know their family, maybe they know yours and it’s as much a personal relationship as it is strictly a lawyer/client relationship.

In that setting it’s almost irresistible not to like discuss your frustrations. Let’s say if you’re frustrated with your current firm and thinking about going somewhere else, you might want to do that because you might want the client to be assured that the new firm, that you’re thinking about going to, has the resources to handle the client’s matter and maybe even a better place for the client. So, you might want to send that message as well, just to make sure that the client, sort of knows that whatever you’re doing is going to turn out to be a favorable thing for the client.

So, that’s where I see sort of problems coming up. I mean, I think lawyers instinctively know they have to be very careful in this area, but it’s somewhat counter-intuitive, in a sense, to deprive your current longstanding client, the one that you have the relationship, with information that may be important to that client, because of course you have duties and obligations that run to that client. In this setting however, I think prudence dictates and the law dictates that you consider a little bit more important your obligation to your firm, and be careful here, because if you solicit, say clients in advance of giving notice, then you could have a real issue and there would be a clear course of action against you if the firm was upset by your departure.

In that particular area there is some reasonably well-developed law which should caution lawyers, they’d be very careful about what they say to their clients before they actually have given notice. Once they give notice then there’s a lot that they can do, but up until that moment, there’s not much they can do other than talk with other partners with whom they’re considering leaving.

Chris: Thank you. Another question I wanted to ask you was, Richard, you’re in a leadership role yourself at Hinshaw and you’re in the largest legal market in the world, partners come and go all the time, not necessarily at your firm but you just see it because of your practice, why are partners leaving law firms today?

Why Are Partners Leaving Their Firms Today

Richard: Well, I think a lot of it is really driven by compensation and there’s the changes in the market, I mean they’re squeezing a lot of people. We have more lawyers than we did before, I mean, in the sense that a few years back law schools were really churning out a lot of lawyers and a lot of those lawyers are now, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th year lawyers with some experience and they’re all competing with one another for business.

As I said at the outset, I think that this phenomenon doesn’t really impact as significantly the very, very top tier of law firms. For a lot of the rest of the firms, the 2nd, 3rd tier on down, it’s a little bit more of a scramble to get business and price becomes, and the commoditization of legal services becomes more pronounced in that circumstance.

On top of that, a lot of, a very, very significant amount of legal business is paid for by insurance companies and a lot of lawyers work for, or on behalf of, and have those relationships with insurance companies and insurance companies, there’s a lot of consolidation in that business in the last few years and insurance companies are coming to law firms and they’re saying, “You know what, I’m sorry to give you this news, we love you guys, love to keep working with you but we really need to do that at $15, $20 an hour less per hour of work, and by the way, we’re going to pay you on a slightly slower schedule and we’re going to really put your bills through sort of an audit radar and not pay for this, not pay for that, not pay for this, not pay for that.”

The bottom line being of course that revenues are suppressed and lawyers who are used to making a certain amount of money from their work or having to work a lot harder, either just to sustain that through a compensation level or are going to be paid less and when that happens, people don’t like to get paid less, people don’t like to look over the balance sheets of their firms and see that they’re not doing as well.

So, the response to that is to think, “Well maybe if I’m in a different place, I will avoid that problem and I’ll be able to make more money and I’ll be able to stay, at least where I was or maybe make more,” and other law firms are eager to bring in people to add to their bottom line. So lawyers are thinking, “Well, maybe if I move, things will be better for me,” and law firms are thinking, “Well, maybe if I bring on some of these people it will be better for us.”

So, it’s a little bit of a, sort of one of those fire drill type things where people are sort of running around in circles and sometimes in the due diligence process, as you meet lawyers, and I’m speaking now as someone who is also a hiring person, you realize that you’re not really adding much, I mean you’re filling up an office but you’re not necessarily adding much because it may be difficult for the lawyer to actually bring the business that they promised and the due diligence is very, very difficult, as I said, to do for lawyers because you can’t really reach out to their clients to say, “Oh by the way, if your lawyer friend comes with us, will you bring your business here?”

So, it’s sort of a challenging circumstance but those particular areas of the market that I mentioned are the ones where I think you see a lot of people reaching out, there’s also a lot of lawyers that are advanced in their practices, advanced in age, who for their own personal reasons may feel that it’s important or imperative for them to continue to practice, yet their business is not staying as it was or is declining, so you see a lot of resumes coming out for people that are looking to, sort of have a final home, so to speak and bring their practices there, because they’re being, in a sense, pushed out by the firms that they’re in, either by younger partners or by tentative circumstances or for whatever reason. So you see a lot of that as well.

Chris: Do you have advice for law firm executives, both on the receiving end of partners and the ones that are losing partners, do you have advice for them with the trends that you’re seeing?

Advice for Law Firm Firm Leaders in Partner Departures

Richard: Well, I think with lawyers that are losing partners, I mean I think you want to be sort of attuned to some of the warning signs that people might be leaving. I think in retrospect a lot of times it seemed fairly obvious that someone was leaving but you didn’t really think about it, or perhaps you were just too busy to notice it when it was happening. You see lawyers who are sort of withdrawing, particularly in firms where lawyers have interactive practice groups and things like that and they interact a lot in terms of business.

What I’ve noticed is lawyers are sort of dropping or sort of hanging back and not feeling that there’s not much reason to spend time doing that, that often times can be a warning sign that someone is considering departure. Obviously, if compensation gets changed fairly significantly from one year to another, then that issue may arise as well and it may be something that even the firm that is losing the lawyer is not terribly unhappy about and you see that kind of thing, I think on the departure side.

On the incoming side, it’s a really good question because it’s very, very hard to vet, I think, well candidates. What we try to do here is just really have a lot of eyeballs on a particular candidate. They meet with lots and lots of people, everyone has a chance to sort of make an assessment, is this person going to fit in, are they going to make the effort, what are their motivations for coming here?

I think when someone is sort of looking for a new home and it matters less what new home they’re buying as opposed to just the fact that they are looking for a new home, that should be somewhat of a concern. There should be a match, it should make sense that the lawyer coming wants to come to my firm or your firm or whoever’s firm, as opposed to any firm.

So, I think in the questioning process, although you don’t ask specifically like, “Are you looking at this firm or that firm or some other firm?” I think you want to suss out, what’s really motivating this, as much as the obvious questions about lateral business and things of that sort.

Chris: I’d like to just shift to personal subjects and I really appreciate you addressing what you’ve seen on your desk on representing those parties. You know, Richard when we were talking before we started recording, I was fascinated by what you shared and I asked you, “Do you have any hobbies?” and you threw out this thing about travel. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about your travel history?

World Travel and Your World View

Richard: I’ve traveled a lot and to some, you know, somewhat unusual places all around the world, not really on the normal sort travelers hit parade since I was in college and some of that was sort of sprung from the fact that when I was at Duke University as an undergraduate, I thought about what I would do as a junior year abroad and ended up going to the University of Nairobi in Kenya for a period of time. I’d never been any place like that, I’d never really traveled much anywhere before that point in time, I think I’d been to Europe maybe once and that was about it.

What they did with us in this Travel Abroad program, which was kind of interesting, is you pull into Nairobi, this is 1983, with your group of 20 some odd fellow travelers and they dropped each one of us off in a rural village in Western Kenya, close to the Uganda border for about a week. It was sort of traditional Africa, sort of thatched roof huts and extended families and subsistence farming and things of that sort and then they came up a week later and picked us up.

There was a family there, prepared to bring you in, they don’t speak very much English and obviously it was a very significant difference from what you are used to and a significant difference from their perspective of what they normally see day to day in their village and I remember having been dropped off and thinking, “What am I doing here? Why am I here at this place and what am I going to get out of it?”

Then a week later, having been sort of taken around and really met with some people and spent a lot of time and done sort of teaching at the local school and some other kinds of things, just like, “This is the greatest thing I ever did,” and I think that really set me off and taught me that you really learn a lot from traveling and you learn especially a lot in the course of traveling from point A to point B rather than simply looking at some monument or going to some particular tourist spots.

So, ever since then I’ve sort of kept up that pace and tried to do this with my children and others and go to some different places and give my family and continue to educate myself about different kinds of people and different places and it’s also a really good way of sort of getting work and the day to day stresses of life, sort of off your mind and refreshing yourself. So it has that laudatory aspect as well.

Chris: That’s exciting, so can you list off what other unique places you’ve been to?

Richard: I’ve been to probably about 25 different countries in Africa, on maybe 6 or 7 visits, including the Congo, Rwanda, Namibia, Botswana, Egypt, you know, different countries all throughout Ghana or the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, countries like that. I went to rural China, shortly after it was sort of opened up in 1990, back when there were bicycles and saw all that which was pretty fascinating, Some sort of offbeat islands in Indonesia and Thailand and throughout South America, Central America. Pretty widespread travel.

Chris: You had mentioned to me as well that you had a love for mountain climbing, is that correct?

Hiking Mountains and Life Perspective

Richard: Yeah, for a period of time, my brother-in-law who’s a very active, outdoor person and I’ve gone to summer camp and really learned how to sort of take care of myself outdoors. He and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro when I was in Kenya and I found that to be a pretty intoxicating and fun experience. So, in the 90’s, for a period of 8 or 10 years, he and I got into big mountain climbing and did some big climbs, 20,000 feet and up.

In South America climbed Mount Rainier and sort of learned some basic rope and climbing skills and spent a lot of time out, particularly in the winter, camping and climbing and really found that to be an amazing way to sort of test yourself and also just really appreciate the beauty of the world around you. Again, it was a very good way to sort of clear the mind of things that…

You know, I think if you don’t have like a stress-releaser, things can accumulate and particularly if you have a lot of responsibilities at work, it’s always nice to have an outlet for that, so you make sure you can keep things in a better sense of perspective when you’re back in your day to day life.

Chris: It’s definitely got to change your world perspective and outlook on life, even living in Manhattan or working in Manhattan.

Richard: Well, it certainly does, there’s a big difference between crowding onto the F Train subway on my way into work and I’m standing at the top of a 22,000 foot peak and seeing the curvature of the earth, yeah there’s a big difference between the two. Sometimes, when you’re stuck on that train and you allow your mind to wander and you think about that it can make the commute a little more palatable because you wonder to yourself, “Well maybe I can conjure up another experience that’s as equally as satisfying as the one I’m sort of dreaming about now?” Yeah, I think it does sort of help with the tedium of living in a crap city like New York.

Chris: Awesome. I usually ask every person I interview, what kind of content are you consuming, how are you consuming it and do you have favorite authors?

Fiction Reading for Leaders

Richard: You know, I am a book reader, I have sort of an unusual book reading style, I’m not really a big movie guy, I don’t really watch TV very much. I do love live music and that’s fun. But in terms of reading books, ever since I was a teenager, I’ve read alternatively fiction and non-fiction, fiction and non-fiction and I think I’ve sort of kept that up religiously since I was much younger. So, that’s pretty fun and I usually have something sort of open and happening at any given time, unless I’m sort of on trial or some super busy thing is consuming my time.

So, I do like to read books. Sometimes I read books about law but usually not. I really enjoy fiction that is sort of interesting, somewhat escapist as a way to sort of think of things from a different perspective. So one author I love is Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer. I think he writes brilliant stuff, very insightful.

I’m reading a book right now by an author named Dave Eggers, the book I’m reading is called What Is the What. I think it’s a great book actually for people in any kind of leadership position to read because it’s a story of a Sudanese refugee who had to endure incredible experiences on his way to America and even in America and all with the sense of quiet grace and dignity. I think that, in a world where people yell and scream at each other a lot and politics can be pretty noisy and selfishness can be pretty apparent in the behavior of some people, to read about somebody like that and this is a fictionalized story of something that actually happened, to read about somebody like that, somebody who doesn’t have a day to day place in our media world, somebody like that is pretty inspirational I think, in terms of how I would hopefully go about interacting with other people. It’s sort of a good check on, you’re thinking about your own place in the world and how you deal with it.

So, I do enjoy that, I find it a good way to sort of refocus, in terms of what it is I’m really trying to accomplish as a lawyer for clients to read about people who are inspiring in that way.

Chris: That’s excellent, and you mentioned that’s Dave Eggers and What Is the What.

Richard: Yes, that’s the book I’m reading now.

Chris: Okay, excellent. When you want to unwind and maybe you’re reading, do you have a choice drink you enjoy?

The Brazilian Drink – Caipirinha

Richard: A choice drink? Well I make a mean Caipirinha. Caipirinha’s are, for those who don’t know it, are cachaça based drinks, they’re really from Brazil and I was fortunate enough, some years back with my younger children, to go to Rio for carnival time, which was a pretty amazing experience. I would be in a rooftop bar in Ipanema on the beach there where I was staying and there was an amazing bartender who made this crushed iced drink called Caipirinha, hand cracking the ice cubes and you know, it took a while to get your drink but when you got it, it was really beautiful and even though I really didn’t speak much Portuguese, I had taken a little traveler’s course before going down there, sort of inquired, mostly with hand movements, if he could show me how precisely he made them.

So, he did that and I brought home the necessary wooden mortar and pestle and other kinds of ingredients, or at least found out exactly what they were so I could reproduce his efforts, not perfectly, but at least try to do that at home.

It’s a great summer drink, a little strong, so they’re good with fun music and I’ve worked fastidiously at developing my skills there and I have to say I’m modestly known amongst my friends for making this cocktail.

So that is my favorite drink, although now it’s November and I’m looking outside at a rainy day, so it’s not exactly what I have in my mind right at this moment, but just thinking about it makes me think of the sunshine and warm weather and I know we’re a few months from that but soon enough, soon enough we’ll have it.

Chris: That’s excellent, well if I do come to New York City some time when we were to meet would I be able to try one of those with you?

Richard: Certainly you can. I know a couple of places that make a great one, there’s a little Brazil Street, the west side of the 40s here and a whole bunch of Brazilian restaurants, they make some great ones. It’s become somewhat of a chic cocktail in Manhattan, so they’re not that hard to find. They can be made different ways and the quality is sometimes a little different from one to another and sometimes it depends on your taste, but there’s no problem, I’ll be happy to find you one, or two.

Chris: Sounds like fun, and I just caught you say that you took your kids to carnival in Rio, I mean talk about adventure, that’s amazing, definitely a memorable moment.

Parenting and Life Experiences

Richard: Yeah, well I have a great picture of my youngest daughter, who I think was probably about 6 or 7 at the time, sort of covered in shaving cream, or shaving cream all over her head from one of the carnival parades as we were walking by and someone decided to treat her to some of the revelry. She has a gigantic smile on her face, she was pretty happy and a pretty fun experience, yeah it was great.

Chris: Yeah, your kids will never be the same. Well, it sounds like you’re an amazing dad and just to take them along with you, I was going to ask you what you’re passionate about, it sounds like your travels would be one of them and then your kids would be next?

Richard: Yeah, well my kids are now in high school, one has applied to college and any parent who’s gone through the application process to college knows it’s a pretty stressful time, a lot of hand holding and a lot of time spent sort of investigating and dealing with that process.

So we’re in the midst of that, it’s taking up a lot of time. They’re very busy people and between work and their lives and spending time with them, it doesn’t leave a lot of extra time but as I told you beforehand, I’m sort of a fanatical basketball fan as well. I try to either watch or record most of the games and can speak in the kind of, sort of the fanatical fan speak that someone who watches a sports team very closely can speak and it’s kind of fun. Again it’s a nice distraction from the stress of the world and it helps also that they tend to win a lot of the games that they play, so that brings some additional pleasure on top of that. So yeah, all that, altogether, sort of fills up my time and it’s all good.

Chris: Bringing this podcast to a close I have a tradition of asking everyone the same question. So, I’m stealing this question from Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace, in five words or less, what is your job Richard or what do you do?

Richard: Actually, my job is helping people solve their problems. I think that’s the short answer. People come to me because of the nature of representing lawyers, a lot of what you do is pretty confidential, a lot of what you do can be pretty sort of personalized and traumatic to the lawyer who has an issue and I see my job as helping navigate them through their problems to a point where when they’re finished they’ll say, they’ll not only pay my bill but they’ll say, “Thanks very much, I’m real happy I came to you.” If that happens then I’ve accomplished my mission.

Chris: And you did it in five words, I’m impressed. I think you’re my first person I’ve interviewed to do that, so that’s impressive.

Richard: Well thank you.

Chris: Richard, it’s been such an honor and pleasure to have you on the podcast, I really appreciate your time and your wisdom.

Richard: Yeah, well thanks very much for having me Chris.

Chris: It’s a pleasure.

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