As the summer program makes it past the half-way mark, we summer associates have talked to many attorneys who have generously offered us their perspectives and tips for success. Their experiences and insights have been invaluable in helping us understand the profession in a much more grounded and hands-on manner. One of the attorneys who spoke to us, and did so in a really cool way, was Marshall Pasternack. We all met Marshall during the virtual Ireland tour, but last Friday, he spoke to us to give his perspective. He gave us pointers on things that, in his experience, made the practice of law more meaningful but also could, and should, be applied to life.
His first morsel of wisdom was that, although the legal profession was inherently adversarial, it needn’t be nasty and unpleasant. In other words, we should strive to be nice to others, even if they’re the ones sitting across from us in a lawsuit. To this point, he told us a story about how he ended up becoming friends with an opposing lawyer at a negotiation and eventually went to his wedding. The next piece of advice was about how we should never judge a book by its cover, and Marshall told a very funny story about how he once went to a meeting with two other men and one of the guys was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Marshall naturally assumed this person was the client and not the lawyer but he was wrong; the shorts wearing lawyer then proceeded to lose his mind and storm out of the meeting, leaving his client behind!
The last piece of Marshall’s advice is apparently so well known, that Jessica was the one to say it for him. This was, “every shot not taken is a goal not scored” and to accompany this insight, he told us one of the coolest stories I’ve heard. At one point in Marshall’s travels, he visited Monet’s gardens at Giverny, where he saw the famous bridge with the water lilies. Fast forward to a time when him and his then girlfriend went to a museum and saw Monet’s Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge and Marshall mentioned how great it would be to get married on that bridge, and so, for the heck of it, he called the organization who ran the Gardens and asked if he could. Amazingly, they said yes! Eventually he did get married there and even had his marriage painted by an artist who was there and by happenstance, was paining the bridge.
The stories Marshall told us spoke to not just his experiences as a lawyer but also in life, and I think that’s why it resonated with me. He spoke of how to make our work meaningful but also how we should remember to pay attention to our personal lives, enriching it with travel, friends, and experiences. I really enjoyed hearing him talk about these important issues and I hope to hear more from him soon!