An Interview With Chere Estrin
Be empathetic. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Have you ever been a client? Wouldn’t you want your call returned; your matter attended to? Wouldn’t you want to understand what’s happening in advance of it happening? Wouldn’t you want to feel cared for and secure?
The legal field is known to be extremely competitive. Lawyers are often smart, ambitious, and highly educated. That being said, what does it take to stand out and become a “Top Lawyer” in your specific field of law? In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Become A Top Lawyer In Your Specific Field of Law”, we are talking to top lawyers who share what it takes to excel and stand out in your industry.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Randy Zelin.
Randy Zelin, a 33 year veteran criminal defense attorney and adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School, heads the white collar criminal defense practice group at Wilk Auslander LLP. A sought-after television and radio legal analyst and recognized “Super Lawyer,” Zelin is the first to admit that he has “never worked a day in his life.” – Chere Estrin
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is the “backstory” that brought you to this particular career path in Law? Did you want to be an attorney “when you grew up”?
Except for a brief moment when my mother bought me Grey’s Anatomy and the pictures made me want to throw up, I have always wanted to be a trial lawyer. From a small child, I could never keep my mouth shut and I always knew the answer. Even if I didn’t!
Can you tell us a bit about the nature of your practice and what you focus on?
I spend most of my waking hours defending white collar criminal cases and civil cases that arise out of or are connected to criminal cases. My focus is on making sure the government is kept honest — that the our Constitutional rights are safeguarded; that the innocent go free; that the guilty are treated fairly and proportionately. And that ours is viewed as a noble profession. When Shakespeare said “first kill all the lawyers,” it was meant as a compliment.
You are a successful attorney. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? What unique qualities do you have that others may not? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Resiliency — “no is not an acceptable answer,” a thick skin — it’s a nasty and unforgiving profession; and a thin skin — I take what I do very personally.
Do you think you have had luck in your success? Can you explain what you mean?
As the Hon. Arnold I. Burns once said — “luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” I’ve been prepared to be lucky.
Do you think where you went to school has any bearing on your success? How important is it for a lawyer to go to a top-tier school? ……………………………..
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