Steve Gubner Interviewed in Law360’s “Rainmaker Q&A” Series
Steve Gubner recently spoke to Law360 as a part of its “Rainmakers Q&A” series, which profiles leaders at top law firms and gives them the opportunity to share their experience with and insight on rainmaking. The profile highlights Steve’s expertise in commercial collections for banks and financial institutions and his successful litigation cases involving heavily contested, multimillion-dollar real/personal property and equity line financing. According to Steve, multi-tasking, doing your homework on new clients, and balancing work and personal lives are crucial to being a successful rainmaker. The text version of the article can be found below.
Rainmaker Q&A: Brutzkus Gubner’s Steven Gubner
Law360, New York (August 22, 2016, 5:00 PM ET)
Steven T. Gubner is a managing partner at Brutzkus Gubner Rozansky Seror Weber LLP in Los Angeles. He represents financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, closely held businesses and high net worth individuals in complex bankruptcy and insolvency matters. He is known in the insolvency arena as the “involuntary bankruptcy goto lawyer” because of his management of the sensitive issues surrounding involuntary bankruptcy filings, and general business advice he applies to navigate potential pitfalls and solve problems before they occur.
Gubner applies his experience as a business lawyer, and business owner, to each matter in order to effectively achieve the business and legal objectives of his clients. He truly believes that “your counsel matters,” and listens carefully to client desires and concerns before charting the most effective course.
Gubner is particularly skilled in commercial collections for banks and financial institutions, and has successfully litigated heavily contested, multimilliondollar real/personal property and equity line financing cramdown cases. He also assists in prebankruptcy, preworkout and wealth management advice and planning. In addition, he has handled numerous cases before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Q: What skill was most important for you in becoming a rainmaker?
A: Being able to multitask. I often describe the process as similar to the carnival performer who spins multiple plates at the same time. When one starts to wobble you have to give it more attention than the others until the next one wobbles, and so on. Clients insist on knowing that you are moving the case in the direction they want. As a leader and rainmaker they want to make sure you are always involved. That the plates are spinning.
Q: How do you prepare a pitch for a potential new client?
A: Doing your homework. You really have to know more about the case than they do and be prepared to answer any questions they raise. I am unaware of any busy client that wants to hear “I will get back to you on that.” Every once in a while I will field a possibly unrelated question out of the blue; only in those circumstances will I sometimes say “I have to get back to you.” I think they appreciate the honesty and I always get back to them by the end of that business day (“no sunset” rule). In short, I do as much research as possible to know all of the variables and potential strategies and enter the pitch ready to navigate the waters.
Q: Share an example of a time when landing a client was especially difficult, and how you handled it.
A: I really wanted a particular client I ultimately counseled on a major issue. My answer to his issue was different than the one he wanted to hear. After several months, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees, the client called and asked me to handle the matter, agreeing to follow my lead. Twenty years later the client is still on my roster and we have a great working relationship. Integrity counts for something; clients who hire me know I won’t change my course to best resolution simply to be a “yes” man.
Q: What should aspiring rainmakers focus on when beginning their law careers?
A: I tell our younger lawyers, client development is like fly fishing. Don’t be afraid to cast and know it may take years to land that first big client. However, if you don’t ever put your hook in the river, you’ll never know what’s in it for you.
Q: What’s the most challenging aspect of remaining a rainmaker?
A: Balancing my availability and family. I pride myself on being extremely responsive and making myself available to clients. However, on the weekends, I commit to family. As such, clients have to understand that instant responses may not occur. I will always get back to them, and will make myself available for emergencies on the weekends, but I mostly respond when I have finished the day with my wife and children. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.