Timing is everything in business.
Mark Goldstein had time on his side when he branched out on his own in early 2008 to open Goldstein Law Group SC, a firm focused on providing advice to small- and mid-size companies.
When the financial crisis hit later that year, many businesses changed their approach to legal issues, and Goldstein’s hands-on approach to help companies avoid problems is what many were looking for.
“Clients are demanding more from attorneys. They want to avoid issues and sidestep problems ahead of time,” Goldstein said.
These days, new regulations are keeping businesses – and their attorneys – on their toes.
“A lot of businesses are saying, ‘Tell me how to avoid these problems’ and are investing in preventative work, such as putting together handbooks or offering training,” Goldstein said.
He appreciates that proactive approach.
“It gets and keeps you ahead,” he said.
Goldstein likens his firm as an in-house legal department for small- and mid-size companies.
“There are a lot of issues in the workplace that need to be addressed, whether it’s non-compete clauses, contracts, passing on a business to the next generation or trying to settle a disagreement between executives,” he said. “There’s a lot of process thinking and consulting: how are we going to do that?”
Working closely with small- and mid-size businesses is a lot of fun, Goldstein said.
“I enjoy having that close connection with clients who rely on you. I also love learning more about their businesses,” he said. “We attorneys don’t make things – we write briefs – but it’s fun to visit a client and walk their manufacturing floor and see what they do.”
While the work is challenging, Goldstein, the son of a law professor, said there’s nothing else he would rather be doing.
“I’ve always wanted to be an attorney,” he said. “As a kid growing up I was always following the big cases and wondering how they would turn out. To do this now and playing a small part in helping my clients succeed is great.”
Wisconsin Law Journal: What was your favorite class in law school?
Mark Goldstein: Clinics. I took a few and appreciated the opportunity to see the intersection of legal theory and ‘the real world.’ In one clinic I had the chance to work on a pending Court of Appeals case on lending laws (culminating in witnessing oral argument and a win). In another, I explored the intricacies of cable television laws and regulations.
WLJ: If you could have drinks with one famous person who would it be?
Goldstein: Dan Kahneman. Professor Kahneman is the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics and considered the father of behavioral economics. I have been fascinated by behavioral economics for some time now and purchased his most recent book, [‘Thinking Fast and Slow’]. I haven’t made much progress, so scheduling dinner would prompt me to finish the book and give me a chance to follow-up on what I’ve read … or Michael Jordan, for doing the impossible with grace.
WLJ: What was the last book you read?
Goldstein: ‘Give and Take,’ by Adam Grant, a young professor at The Wharton School. It’s about how one can be smarter and more strategic in his/her giving of time, expertise, etc.
WLJ: What was the first concert you went to?
Goldstein: That’s going backaways, but I do remember seeing The Cars at Alpine Valley and Sting in Europe.
WLJ: What was your favorite childhood toy?
Goldstein: A tie between old school and new school: Legos and Mattel electronic football.
WLJ: If you could be one super hero, who would you pick?
Goldstein: Who could argue with Superman?
WLJ: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Goldstein: I would love to split time between Milwaukee and Door County. Thinking a bit bigger, I would love to explore New Zealand, but have never been. I spent my junior year abroad in Italy. I’m not sure I would want to live in Italy full-time, but I would love a vacation spot on the Amalfi Coast.
WLJ: What activity could you spend hours doing outside of work?
Goldstein: Travel, exercise, movies, and reading non-fiction.
WLJ: What do you see as your biggest accomplishment?
Goldstein: Personally, a terrific family (including three beautiful daughters). Next stop, surviving the teen years. Professionally, growing Goldstein Law Group S.C. from its inception in February 2008, through the economic downturn that took hold in September 2008 (with profound consequences for the entire legal profession), to what it is today — with so many successes and wonderful relationships along the way, and infinite possibilities ahead.