Ed. note: This is the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories, brought to you by Lateral Link. This recurring feature will give notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.
Gary Luftspring, managing partner at Ricketts, Harris LLP, enjoys a high-level litigation practice. He’s successfully represented clients in a significant and growing number of major cases and was named by Lexpert as a litigator who is “consistently recommended.” Read his full bio here.
1. What is the greatest challenge to the legal industry over the next 5 years?
Coming to grips with the value proposition demanded by clients will be critical. I see more legal related work than ever but there are fewer and more educated purchasers. There are untapped markets for legal services. If lawyers can figure out a way to deliver the services economically, they will do very well. However if we don’t figure it out, others will and it will not be pretty.
2. What has been the biggest positive change to the legal profession since the start of your career?
It is now much easier to practice at a very sophisticated level at a small firm because of technology and the much more facilitative access to information.
3. What has been the biggest negative change to the legal profession since the start of your career?
The speed at which things happen. It is hard to get time to really think rather than react.
4. What is the greatest satisfaction of practicing law?
Without any question the people you meet, both colleagues and clients, and the diverse things you can learn from both.
5. What is the greatest frustration of practicing law?
I will resist the stock answer about tracking time. Instead, I would say it is the lack of time to do everything I want to do in a day. With all that access to information comes all the information and a desire to devour it. There simply is not enough time in the day.
6. What is your firm’s greatest strength?
Our collective passion for what we do and the fun we have doing it.
7. What is the single most important personal characteristic for a successful lawyer in your field?
Passion! If you aren’t passionate about what you do, go do something else.
8. What is your favorite legally themed film or television show?
Hard one. I am a movie buff. How can you pick between Charles Laughton in Witness for the Prosecution (affiliate link), James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder (affiliate link) and Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird (affiliate link)?
9. What is your favorite legally themed book (fiction or non-fiction)?
Presumed Innocent (affiliate link).
10. What would you have been if you weren’t a lawyer?
Probably a doctor. When I grew up, you became a professional. I was actually on the waiting list for medical school as I have a science background. Law school, however, came calling and I found my calling.
Lateral Link’s recruiters are on pace to place hundreds of attorneys throughout the world this year. We are currently involved in over three dozen active partner searches including opening the office of an Am Law 50 firm in a new location, the merger of an Am Law 10 firm with a foreign firm, finding practice chairs for several Am Law10 firms, and searches for groups of partners in at least ten different cities, including Atlanta, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Dallas, Denver, and Chicago, just to name a few. We are currently working with partner candidates with $500k to $35M in portable business. For more information, please call Michael Allen, Managing Principal at Lateral Link.