Q&A with Jeremy Goldstein - Partner at Goldstein & Associates

Jeremy Goldstein is one of the founding partners of Jeremy L. Goldstein & Associates, LLC law firm, based in New York City. He deals with issues arising from executive pay and company’s governance matters. As an attorney, he offers counsel to compensation committees, CEOs and administration groups throughout corporate changeovers. Jeremy is the chairperson of the Merger and Acquisitions subcommittee of the business section at American Bar Association. He is regarded as the top compensation attorney in the Chambers USA Guide and Legal 500.

Before founding his law firm, Mr. Goldstein was a partner in most of the Merger and Acquisition firms in New York City. He has facilitated among the significant corporate transactions such as buyout of South African Breweries PLC by Miller Brewing Co., Acquisition of AT&T Corp. by SBC Communications, Inc., the Merging of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. with Bank One Corporation among others.

Mr. Goldstein received a Juris Doctor from New York University (NYU). He also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, with distinction and M.A from Cornell University and the University of Chicago respectively. He is a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the New York University Journal of Law and business.

 

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

 

My inspiration came from my interest in applying the concept of relationships to the legal field. I’ve found that maintaining social and professional relationships with my clients leads to more innovations than the formal, impersonal approach taken by many in my profession. I understood that this career path would require complete commitment, so I thought very hard about how to integrate the most important elements of my life into my professional realm.

 

How do you make money?

 

Over the years, I learned to diversify my sources of income. I certainly work as a legal consultant, but I also tackle complicated events that occur in the corporate world. This is where I have a lot of experience and expertise, so I get hired to deal with the legal aspects of certain types of corporate transactions like mergers and acquisitions, for example.

 

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

 

That’s an interesting question. My concept of profit isn’t limited to just monetary success alone. I see the revenues generated at the company primarily as a means of reinvestment, but I am cautious to not analyze the profit and loss statement as an end goal in itself. I enjoy investing resources into various activities that I think has the potential to offer the kind of success that I’m really interested in experiencing. So, if I told you that I was able to generate profits within the notoriously difficult five-year period after starting my practice, that wouldn’t really represent the type of profit that I’m really pursuing. To summarize, long-term thinking is what lead me to early profitability.

 

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

 

Doubt is just an internal obstacle. The way I deal with these issues is to apply the tools and resources I have available to the particular situation. It is also helpful to see every obstacle as an opportunity for the kind of personal growth that is necessary to maintain a successful practice for the long term. Emotions like doubt are temporary. I learned how to use uncomfortable feelings to direct my attention to an area that I need to grow. That diffuses the effect that doubts could otherwise have, especially on critical decision-making.

 

How did you get your first customer?

 

I was fortunate to be connected to a network of legal professionals, and got my first client through a referral. This is a great way to get started, but too many new lawyers fail to utilize it fully as a resource.

 

What is one marketing strategy, other than referrals, that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

 

In this field, it isn’t possible to have enough publicity, but the trick involves getting the right kind of publicity. As I said before, prioritizing cases is central to my philosophy, so creating news headlines that attract what I consider to be the right type of clientele is a technique that works very well.

 

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

 

It might come as a surprise, but the toughest call I had to make recently was whether to tackle a challenging case that fits my skills and expertise or to speak in front of an audience of peers on a topic of my choice. I can’t complain because this is exactly the type of problem that I enjoy.

 

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

 

I like to think about things in a particular kind of way. Finding the right perspective and applying it to appropriate situations makes sense and works well for me.

 

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

 

Sitting on the Board of Directors for Fountain House brought the pieces of my professional life together in a way that was surprising, even for me. It gave me a new sense of purpose to be working to advance the cause of this worthy nonprofit organization.

 

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

 

I have been following the trends in business conversions very closely, as you know. What has grabbed my attention is the recent wave of conversions from corporations to worker cooperatives. As a business structure, this type of conversion presents unique challenges. Applying legal principles to such a foundational change in the structure of enterprises is exactly the kind of challenge that motivates me.

 

What business books have inspired you?

 

I liked the book “Made to Stick”, by Chip and Dan Health. Understanding that an idea has a lifespan was a breakthrough concept for me. Presenting an idea to people is done on a daily basis, but so few people take the time to figure out how to make the idea last in the minds of their audience.

 

What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

 

Ragic is a software that simplifies the process of creating a database. This is great for people like me who don’t have a lot of time to retrieve critical information about clients.

 

Do you prefer to hire someone with the right experiences or someone who fits your company’s culture?

 

I am very careful with hiring, and I usually create a large window of time where I am interviewing people to find that perfect balance between experience and personality. It might come as a surprise, but I tend to favor candidates with relevant experience over a personality fit because it is a priority to assure my clients of our competency as a firm.

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