- December 1, 2017
Pender & Coward PC
Other legal specialties: Riparian property rights
Birthplace: Orange, California
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Southern California; law degree (summa cum laude), Case Western Reserve University School of Law; master of laws degree in environmental law (high honors), The George Washington School of Law
Children: James (27), Katelyn (22) and Laura (21)
Hobbies or pastimes: My wife and I volunteer as mentors in the UpCenter’s “Team Up Mentoring Program” working with at-risk youth.
First job as a lawyer: I had my “first job” as a lawyer during the summer after my second year of law school, when I was assigned to the Navy Legal Services Office in Norfolk.
Fan of: Football: University of Southern California Trojans; baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers.
Favorite vacation spot: The Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York
Recently read books: “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, “The House of Morgan” by Ron Chernow and “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
Career mentor: In 1995 the Captain commanding the Navy Legal Office in Washington, D.C. elevated me to the position as his second-in-command. He took a genuine interest in me. I am a far better person now because of what he did for me.
How has your Navy career influenced your law practice? My Navy career began as an 18-year-old enlistee assigned to maintaining and operating nuclear reactors. That assignment was cut short, and I was re-directed to college on a Navy scholarship and then to flight training in Pensacola, Fla. I flew in the P-3 Orion submarine-hunting aircraft for almost two years, at which point I was re-directed to law school (again on a Navy scholarship). Flight training taught me that all aviators make mistakes, and that the living aviators are the ones who caught their mistakes and corrected them. In my legal work, I double-check “facts” before including them in my outgoing correspondence and in briefs that I file with the court. Also in the Navy, I learned that an officer is known by his or her “professional reputation,” which influences career assignments and the ability to advance. This important lesson applies equally to my legal practice. An attorney’s reputation with the bar and with the bench matters. Integrity and trustworthiness are vital to the attorney’s ability to meet his or her ultimate responsibility — which is to solve clients’ problems.