Photo Credit: L.E. Baskow
Michael Feder, a member of law firm Dickinson Wright’s litigation department, has represented such prominent clients as Ultimate Fighting Championship, Caesars Entertainment Corp., Cox Communications and Station Casinos. The firm, which has locations across the country and in Canada, is emphasizing growth in Las Vegas, he said.
What is the best business advice you’ve received?
I started practicing law in Philadelphia and I was lucky to be mentored by two fantastic trial lawyers, David Braverman and Glenn Callahan. Both had a similar philosophy — work hard, be prepared, be truthful and ethical so your reputation precedes you, and be attentive to client needs. But most important, always remember to be yourself rather than trying emulate someone else. If you follow these rules, business will come. Today, I give the same advice to young lawyers all the time.
If you could change one thing about Southern Nevada, what would it be?
It is hard to narrow it down to one thing, but a big focus needs to be on improving our public school system. I am involved with two great organizations — Junior Achievement and the Core Academy — and while their reach is limited, you can see the improvement in the students when they receive support from these and other organizations.
What’s the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?
In addition to the education issues, we do live in a desert, so obviously a big issue is the quantity and quality of our water supply, especially given the water level at Lake Mead.
What has been your most interesting case?
I have had many interesting cases, as well as interesting events that occurred during the cases. One case that stands out was one in which a client discovered that an employee was selling stolen merchandise out of a warehouse in Las Vegas. We had to file an action and seek emergency relief without notifying the other party allowing for the breaking and entering into the warehouse to recover the stolen merchandise. The judge granted us the order, and observing law enforcement take action to recover the stolen property was quite memorable.
How did you choose which area of law on which to focus?
Out of law school, I started working for a firm that focused on litigation. From the beginning, I knew it was the perfect area of law for me. Whether playing sports, or anything else, I love to strategize and implement the strategy. What better area of law to continue those traits than litigation?
What advice would you give someone graduating law school today?
Be true to yourself and always act professionally and ethically, even if your adversary is not. In addition, always be prepared; review the documents, review the case law and be prepared for any circumstance that may arise in court, at a deposition or even at meetings with a client.
What are you reading right now?
I try to read the newspaper on a daily basis. It never fails that during a meeting, something will come up about current events, and being the person who can maintain the conversation stands out amongst the crowd.
What do you do after work?
We work hard as attorneys and I promised myself a long time ago I would do my best to spend as much time with my family as possible; so most of my free is spent with my wife and my daughter, whether it is talking about our day or running around to my daughter’s events, whether it be theater, softball, tennis, volleyball, basketball, etc., so long as we are doing it together as a family.
Describe your management style.
I am a believer in a team approach and being loyal to everyone on the team. Leadership is defined by those who are surrounded by people who want to work with you because they respect you, rather than those who work for you because of fear.
What is your dream job, outside of your current field?
I love all sports, especially baseball. I guess a dream job would be general counsel or general manager of a major sports franchise.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
There are many places around the world I would like to live, but I moved to Las Vegas to be closer to my entire family. And because of that, I do not see myself living any place else since family and home are synonymous.
Whom do you admire and why?
It may sound cliché, but my father. Though he passed away when I was young, my father was a Holocaust survivor. Anytime I feel or think my life is difficult, I think of him and it puts everything back in perspective for me. He came here with nothing and made a life for himself and my family. There is no one I admire more or aspire to be more like than him.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I have many, but my biggest pet peeve is when someone tells me they cannot do something. Life is about facing your fears and the word “cannot” should not be in anyone’s vocabulary. I would rather someone try and fail than not try at all.
Where do you like to go for business lunches?
One of the best parts of living in Las Vegas is the variety of great restaurants. My preference is to try something new rather than go back to someplace where I have already eaten.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had more patience.
What is something that people might not know about you?
I have been practicing for 24 years, and to this day, whenever I appear in court, I have a moment of anxiety because I am always concerned that I did not prepare enough and something will come up that I did not plan for.
Anything else you want to tell us?
As a litigator, I deal with adversaries every day. However, just because someone is your adversary, does not mean he or she is your enemy. Treat people with respect and in return they will respect you.
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