Daily Business Review – 2018 Professional Excellence Awards Distinguished Leaders (May 2018)
By Kluger Kaplan May 22, 2018
Professional Excellence Distinguished Leaders
Title: Founding member
Firm: Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine
What is the one word people use to describe you? Passionate. Whether it is about my family, my clients, my philanthropic involvement or my art collection, I always try to commit 100 percent to everything I do.
What is your favorite thing about being in the legal profession? Serving as a trusted adviser to my clients. I take great pride in being more than just their attorney, but also a confidante and problem solver.
What could you do without in the legal profession? Lawyers who think it is about themselves rather than their client. As attorneys, our job is to serve our clients. When an attorney focuses on themselves first, it is often to the client’s detriment.
What is your No. 1 survival tip in a work crisis? Always make sure you are prepared for anything that might occur. As in any high-stress situation, being thoroughly prepared allows you to tackle a crisis methodically.
What do you think you are better at than others? I have a photographic memory that allows me to excel at being a trial attorney. This enables me to recite and recall full documents at moment’s notice at trial and allows me to better focus on connecting with a jury.
What advice do you have for aspiring legal professionals? Practicing at a law firm is not for everyone and just because you have a law degree does not mean you have to take a traditional route. A legal education provides a foundation for a variety of fields and can open doors in both the public and private arenas, for those interested.
What has been the most significant change in the legal profession in the past 10 years? The rise of electronic discovery and the shift to going paperless has made the profession more efficient for both attorneys and clients. While it used to take endless hours to scour stacks of documents in the discovery process, technology has now reduced that to a fraction of the time.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your young self when you were graduating? Slow and steady wins the race. Being a lawyer is often about the journey, not the destination. By focusing too much on achieving the end goal too quickly, you can often miss important opportunities that may arise along the way.
What are you most proud of achieving in your career? I am most proud of providing pro bono service in various high-profile cases that have made a difference for the organizations and people involved. An example of this is when I represented the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art, helping broach a settlement that ultimately paved way for a new museum the entire community can enjoy.
What’s your idea of an idyllic retirement, and are you going to pursue it? While I love being a lawyer and don’t plan on retiring, I also feel fortunate to have many other interests that keep me engaged on a daily basis. One of those interests is teaching and mentoring younger generations. We can make our lives more meaningful, and keep ourselves occupied, by constantly seeking to define who we are by how we act and not by what we do for a living! It’s important to recognize that what we do is not who we are.