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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: May 2023

Member Spotlight: Mark Robertson

Mark A Robertson

Member Spotlight: Mark Robertson
skynesher via Getty Images

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Tell us a little bit about your career.

I started as a new lawyer in a small litigation firm and quickly found I would rather be on the front end doing business deals than on the back end litigating or defending deals gone bad, so I moved to a midsized transactional and tax firm. I later became managing partner which was an adventure – herding geese with partners doing a lot of honking and not taking any directions! I escaped, started my own small firm, and have been a happy camper ever since.

What has been the highlight of your career?

There isn’t any one thing I can put my finger on. I love putting deals together and helping clients grow their businesses. Being a client’s trusted advisor is my goal in every client relationship.

If you could go back to the beginning of your legal career, would you have done anything differently?

I would have done a joint JD/MBA degree. Since my practice has been in business transactions of all varieties, it would have helped.

What advice would you give to someone considering law school today?

Give it a lot of thought and once you decide, work hard at it. Law school is great at teaching you how to research, analyze, and gives you the foundation for being a lawyer (as well as a lot of other things). Law school gives you the tools for passing the bar but not necessarily for being a lawyer – that requires actually interning or working for, and with, lawyers actually practicing law.

What were the biggest changes you saw in the legal profession over the course of your career?

There seems to be less collegiality today from when I first started practicing over 45 years ago. The pace seems quicker, the transactions and the paperwork to get something done more complex, and the technology sometimes overwhelming.

When did you first become a member of the ABA and why did you decide to join?

I joined the ABA when I was a first year law student because I thought that was what you were supposed to do. It was the right thing to do to become a better law student and later a better lawyer.

Are there any member benefits that SLD or the ABA provided to you that helped you decide to become a member of the ABA and/or SLD?

The greatest benefit I have received from the ABA are the different groups in the ABA that I am a member of, including the SLD. It has been great getting to know so many wonderful and talented lawyers from around the country. It was always exciting to attend annual ABA meetings as well as section and division meetings. Sadly, fewer and fewer lawyers are attending those types of meetings.

What has been the highlight of your work with the ABA?

Chairing the Law Practice Section (now Division) was terrific. I was privileged to have served in the House of Delegates for a number of years, the House Select Committee, the Nominating Committee, and the Audit Committee for the Board of Governors.  

If you had not become a lawyer, what do you think you would have done?

I wanted to be in the Navy since I was a young child – much to my father’s dismay since he was in the Air Force! Later, going to college seemed like a better option than Vietnam. As a political science major in college, it just seemed logical that law school made sense. The alternative would have been business.