From Super Lawyers, San Diego 2011
What’s the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?
“No matter your career path, you’ve got to learn to sell.”
My father had a small men’s clothing shop in a neighborhood in San Diego called North Park, and I started working there at a very young age, probably 9 or 10. When I was 16 or 17 (in 1967) I just didn’t want to be there. Standing on the floor of a men’s clothing store, selling shirts and sweaters, seemed pretty boring to me. Like all teenagers, you think you know better. It was one of the most sober moments I had when my Dad said, “Look it, you need to learn to sell. No matter your career path, you’ve got to learn to sell.”
As a lawyer, you have to sell yourself, you have to sell your client’s position, every argument you make and every deal you try to close. No matter what you do, you’re selling. Selling is the building block of every relationship, of every case, of every matter, of every aspect of lawyering.
Lke a lot of things in life, you don’t appreciate the lessons your father teaches you until it’s much too late. After I’d been practicing law for about 10 years, someone who was attempting to mentor a group of young lawyers took the position: “If you can’t sell them shoes, sell them socks.” It really linked together with what my father taught me.