Jeremy Goldstein is the founding partner of Jeremy L. Goldstein & Associates, LLC law firm that is located in New York City. He specializes in several areas, including mergers and acquisitions, executive compensation, company governance and executive pay. He performed the role of close legal counsel to executives during the buyout of JPMorgan Chase and Company, Alltel, Kmart, Sears, South African Breweries and AT&T Corporation. He also advises administration groups, CEOs and compensation committees as they navigate through corporate changeovers.
Jeremy Goldstein has several years of experience working with some of the most important companies from all over the world. Because of his background of successfully counseling many important people of business, the Mergers and Acquisitions Subcommittee of the American Bar Association named him its chairperson. He is known throughout the United States as the best legal guide for corporate compensation according to the Chambers USA Guide and Legal 500.
Mr. Goldstein gained experience in mergers and acquisitions at several law firms in New York City. While he was a partner with these firms, he had the opportunity to assist Miller Brewing Company in its acquisition of South African Breweries. He was also instrumental in SBC Communications’ acquisition of AT&T Corporation. He also took part in helping JPMorgan Chase & Company merge with Bank One Corporation.
Jeremy Goldstein started on his path to becoming the illustrious attorney that he is today at Cornell University. He not only graduated with a bachelor’s degree, but he graduated with distinction in every one of his subjects. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Chicago and then earned his Juris Doctor from New York University. He returned to NYU to serve on this institution’s Professional Advisory Board for the Journal of Law and Business. He also serves on the board of Fountain House, a charity that helps people as they struggle with mental illness.
What Made You Want to Open Your Own Law Firm?
I was interested in using relationships to navigate through the legal field. Over the years, I discovered that I can come up with more innovative ideas if I maintain social relationships within my professional relationships. Many other lawyers take a formal and impersonal approach with their clients, but I learned that I needed to be involved with my clients in more than just a professional setting. That’s why I worked very hard to find a way to merge my personal life into my professional life.
What Made You Want to Become a Lawyer?
I realized that the way that other lawyers approached their clients didn’t lead them to discover anything new. As I mentioned above, I wanted to be an attorney with the ability to handle myself in business settings the way that I handle myself in social settings. I was aware of the fact that becoming a lawyer would mean that I would need to be entirely dedicated to its practice, so it was important to make sure that my personal world and my business world were as close as they could possibly be.
How Do You Earn Your Money?
I earn money from several different sources. One way is as a legal consultant, but I also take jobs within the corporate world. My background gave me experience in the corporate world, so executives hire me to help them with the legal aspects of their corporate transactions. Mergers and acquisitions is just one example.
I go out of my way to make sure that I am not earning money from only one source. So, I also help companies that are experiencing special challenges that require legal expertise. Because I have been involved in so many mergers and acquisitions, people are always asking me for help with mergers and acquisitions.
Was Your Business Successful Right from the Start?
That’s a difficult question to answer because success means different things to different people. I am not measuring my success based on the amount of money I have in my bank account. I also see success in being able to plan to obtain my future goals. This emphasis is the reason that I reinvest the profits back into my business so that I can continue to build a better company. This doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in my profit and loss statements. It’s just not the only way I determine whether I am succeeding or not. I could tell you when I started to earn more than I spent, but that wouldn’t be telling you the whole story. I could tell you that my business was profitable before the ominous five-year mark, but it was my ability to think about things in the long term that made that possible for me.
Did You Ever Think that You Wouldn’t Make It? How Did You Get Past that Point?
The hardest thing that I had to get past was the doubt that I had about making my business work. The doubt that I experienced really didn’t have anything to do with how I was doing; it was an internal battle. Now, I march past doubt by using the tools that allow me to find solutions to problems. I also see these difficulties as opportunities to become better in my business and become a better person. Whenever I start to doubt myself, these feelings always disappear. I just have to remember that. I acknowledge the fact that I have doubts, but I pay more attention to my personal growth, and I can begin to think critically and find success more easily. When I am feeling uncomfortable, I know that is because I have something that I need to learn.
How Did You Find Your First Client?
When I first started out, I was listed with a legal professional network, and this network sent me my first client. Referrals are the best way for new lawyers to get started, but not every new lawyer takes advantage of these sources.
What Is the Best Way for a Lawyer to Obtain Clients Other than through Referrals?
One good way to find clients is to take advantage of positive public relations. This is the right kind of publicity, and you can never have enough of it. Negative publicity is the kind of publicity that you need to stay away from because it isn’t good for anyone. The type of cases I select depend on the client, and the client needs to be someone I want to attract. When I do this, I tend to have the best headlines, and this can help me grow professionally.
Have You Had to Make a Tough Decision in the Past Few Months?
The tough decision I made this week was deciding between taking a challenging case that would have needed all of my areas of expertise and committing to a speaking engagement in front of other lawyers. I have to say that this is the kind of difficult decision that I don’t mind making.
Why Do You Believe that You Have Succeeded in Your Business?
It’s the way that I think about things. First, I look for the most appropriate perspective. Then, I apply that perspective to the most appropriate situations. It works well for me and has helped me find solutions to many problems.
When Have You Been the Most Satisfied as a Lawyer?
I am on the board of directors for the Fountain House, and it is a great honor. The Fountain House naturally goes along with my business, and it helps me put a new light on legal issues. Besides that, I derive pleasure and joy from helping this charity. I am helping the charity move forward, and this is giving me a new sense of purpose.
Where Do You See Your Business Going in the Future?
I am constantly watching to see where the corporate and legal worlds are going. I am most interested in the way that corporations are becoming worker cooperatives. These aren’t typical business structures, so they are presenting new legal challenges, and these are challenges that are keeping me motivated.
Which Books Helped You Build Your Business?
A book called “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Health. They developed techniques that help people plant an idea in people’s heads and make sure that it stays there. Someone is always telling their business associates or clients about their new ideas, but everyone doesn’t have the talent that it takes to make these ideas come to life. I learned from this book that an idea has its own lifespan, and it teaches us that we can present our ideas so that they will be more meaningful in people’s lives. This meant a lot to me.
What Did You Buy Recently that Helped Your Business?
It was a piece of software by the name of “Ragic.” It makes it easy to create databases. I don’t have the time to find out everything I need to know about a client, so this software is essential for someone in my business. It makes it possible for me to find my client’s information quickly.
When You Need to Hire Someone New, Are You Looking for Someone with the Right Skills and Experience or Someone with the Ability to Get Along with Everyone in Your Office?
This is an area where I never hurry. I take my time getting to know the person to ensure that I am hiring the best person. I spend this time considering the applicant’s experience and skills, but I also pay close attention to the applicant’s personality. All that aside, I tend to hire the person with the most experience because our clients are more interested in achieving the results they want to achieve than enjoying a lawyer’s personality.