After I finished law school, I did two clerkships. At that point, I had to decide whether to take a job in government or transition to a firm. I came to S&C because I could see how special it was: I was attracted by the Firm’s culture, clients and lawyers. We handle some of the most challenging cases. We value teamwork. Most of the Firm’s partners are lifers, and many of our clients have been with us for decades. Our model is simple and somewhat old-fashioned: recruit the best lawyers, train them internally, provide the best client service, and focus all our energies on solving our client’s problems.
What stands out about the work at S&C are the variety of matters you end up working on and the experience of going to court. And then there’s the fact that the cases you end up working on are among the most cutting-edge, high-profile cases. I’ve done everything from criminal cases to arguing about electric versus blade razors. I appreciate the value S&C places on being a generalist, and our clients are best served by people who have a broad range of experience.
But as much as I love being in the courtroom, a lot of a good litigator’s work involves stopping a regulatory action or criminal matter before it even starts—convincing a government agency not to charge a client. I try to see things through the prosecutor’s eyes, with the ultimate objective of persuading the prosecutor that the result I’m proposing is fair and in the public interest. I always tell clients that our goal is “to land the plane.”
In law school, I enjoyed corporate and securities law and knew I wanted to focus on financial cases. My two years of clerking, first for Judge Ralph Winter of the Second Circuit and then for Chief Justice Rehnquist, afforded me the opportunity to watch lawyers argue cases. The experience convinced me that my future was in the courtroom.
Since joining the Firm, I’ve taken time at various points to leave private practice and go to work in different branches of the federal government, including serving as chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee. Working in government has all served me well in representing our clients in crisis situations.
It’s a very collegial firm. No one thinks of “my clients”—they’re all the Firm’s clients. People at the Firm also have a very strong sense of the professional nature of law practice—they’re business-minded, of course, but we see the law as being about more than merely business or billing hours. It’s about doing the right thing by our clients, giving back, constant learning, maintaining the highest standards of our profession. I think S&C has got some really fine, old-school qualities, but at the same time we’re very much in the 21st century.
From my earliest days at the Firm, I had great mentors who gave me as much responsibility as I could handle. I try to do the same for the young lawyers I work with, while providing clear direction so they know how to succeed. I strive to give people opportunities to learn by seeing. The reality is that you learn about the law in law school, but law school isn’t the best place to learn how to practice law—for that, you come to a firm like S&C where you’re working with the best lawyers in the country.
I’ve been pretty addicted to golf since I was a boy. Golf is like litigation: it’s always challenging; it’s very tactical; there can be big and unexpected ups and downs; you have to stay calm under pressure; and the results aren’t always fair, but hard work usually pays off. There’s nothing like hitting a great golf shot or winning an argument in court.
Read more about why our lawyers chose S&C:
- Tracy Richelle High, Litigation Partner
- Nic Bourtin, Litigation Partner
- William B. Monahan, Litigation Partner
- Daniel R. Loeser, General Practice Associate
- Stephanie G. Wheeler, Litigation Partner