Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Mitchell B. Goldberg is the Administrative Partner of Litigation and Regulatory Practice Groups at Lawrence Kamin, LLC. With significant experience representing business and financial services clients, Mitch primarily focuses on litigation and risk management.
He has advocated before Illinois state and federal courts on matters including securities fraud, contract disputes, enforcement of restrictive covenants, and more.
How do you use technology in your litigation and risk management work?
Our firm utilizes technology to make our processes more efficient, our work product better, and our client experience easier. Our firm uses secure online document sharing for the exchange of sensitive documents and information with clients and external parties including opposing counsel and regulators. This has helped streamline document tracking and reviews while ensuring the security and confidentiality of sensitive and proprietary information. Our litigation and regulatory groups use eDiscovery tools to assist in collecting and analyzing data and evidence. We use online legal research in drafting legal arguments in matters.
Like many others, Lawrence Kamin enhanced its abilities to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also have used video conferencing to hold virtual meetings, conduct virtual notarized document signings, and attend depositions and legal proceedings through Zoom during the pandemic. Seeing people’s faces and gathering virtually through video conferencing technology made a huge positive impact in our daily work during the pandemic, as it helped foster the human connection and trust normally present when meeting in-person. For me, it also provided a much needed boost to morale during such an isolating time.
In addition, my colleagues and I invest substantial time and effort into publishing articles and videos online to provide valuable updates, education, and insight to our clients and professional network. During the early part of the pandemic, as the U.S. government rapidly developed and announced various stimulus programs and law changes to help support American businesses, our firm launched a COVID-19 resource center on our website. We conducted webinars and produced a series of articles to disseminate information and answer questions for our business clients and their downstream associates about the SBA PPP loan program, payroll and tax changes, unemployment, and more to help them navigate a most tumultuous and stressful period during the shutdown.
The experience during the pandemic shows that technology can be used to help attorneys service clients effectively from virtually anywhere. It also provided creative ways to communicate and interact professionally and socially. For me, this has helped me value my in-person meetings. It is my hope that, as pandemic restrictions are removed, the use of technology will only serve to supplement and not replace face-to-face interactions, conferences, meetings, and mediations.
Being an attorney is stressful. How do you manage your well-being?
For me, the key to managing my overall well-being is to remain true to myself and my values. Family, friends, and faith are pillars of strength and stability in my life. I am fortunate to have a loving family, as well as meaningful connections among friends and colleagues. I also serve in several volunteer roles for organizations that make meaningful contributions to the practice of law and the Chicago community. Working with talented colleagues on meaningful work gives me a positive boost that helps mitigate stress from other areas.
Client urgencies, trial prep, complex arbitrations – it can definitely become stressful, and sometimes my work extends well into the late evening and over weekends. Still, I seek ways to try to make expedited matters fun for my team. But when the work is done and I’ve served my clients’ needs, I am able to relax and be fully present with my family, enjoying the time we spend together.
For me, quality relationships with my friends and family are a treasure. Being present with them provides me with an opportunity to reflect on my blessings and serves as a sort of “reset” button to center myself for work obligations.
How do you remain civil in tense situations?
I’ve had the privilege of being a member of the Chicago Lincoln American Inn of Court since my first year in practice. I currently serve as CLE co-chair. The Inns of Court movement is designed to foster dialogue between lawyers and judges, promote civility in the practice of law, and improve the profession. Many of my friends, mentors, and colleagues have served as role models for how to behave civilly in the practice of law.
As I often suggest to my clients, when things get tense, I take a deep breath to remain calm and maintain focus on the facts at issue. I see no benefit to throwing or returning uncivil comments or actions with adversaries. Doing so only escalates a situation.
Importantly, uncivil behavior diminishes the reputation of attorneys who engage in such conduct, as well as their law firms and the legal industry as a whole. Unfortunately, I’ve had my fair share of phone calls with opposing counsel who not only turn things sideways but also resort to slinging personal attacks in my direction. When this happens, I try to never stoop to a level of disrespect; I do not hesitate to firmly and respectfully ask that counsel refrain from attacking me personally and invite him or her to instead refocus on the facts of the case.
I know that the incivility of others has nothing to do with me, so I actively encourage a more civil and respectful exchange. If that doesn’t work, then I try to keep those encounters brief and simply move on with my day.
How can attorneys advance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession?
Every single person has the power and ability to affect positive change in the world. As attorneys, I believe each of us has a responsibility to lead by example and to model inclusion and advance diversity in our everyday interactions.
Law firms can do this in recruitment and hiring practices. We can individually promote it in our interactions with colleagues and clients, and in the various industry associations and groups we are a part of. We can also serve as mentors to more novice practitioners, through the Commission on Professionalism’s lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program or other initiatives, to help teach and learn from others about different experiences and challenges.
Our local bar associations continue to be powerful voices to address inclusion and diversity. They have and continue to collaborate with each other to promote tolerance and understanding within various communities, and to address and combat hate faced by communities.
I serve as Co-Chair of the Decalogue Society’s Standing Committee Against Anti-Semitism and Hate. I am also one of the society’s liaisons to the Chicago Racial Justice Coalition. I have worked on programing to address discrimination and hate. This included helping organize a program between the Decalogue Society, the Cook County Bar Association, and the Asian American Bar Association (AABA) in January regarding hate faced by the African American, Jewish, and Asian communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I also assisted in organizing a recent Zoom program led by the AABA and supported by numerous bar associations in late May titled “Breaking Down Our Silos,” where I participated as a speaker and facilitator. The event offered a forum to meaningfully discuss and encourage increased solidarity and action within the legal profession in addressing hate and discrimination. Both events were well attended and fostered a productive exchange of ideas and insights on how attorneys can collectively take action to dismantle racism and hate.
To truly advance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, I believe we each must explore our own conscious and unconscious biases, as individuals, and work to dismantle them. We also can take steps to increase our awareness and education about the discrimination and hate certain groups are experiencing. Finally, we can offer real respect and compassion for others.
How can attorneys further public confidence in the rule of law?
As attorneys, we can voice our support for a strong and independent judiciary, individually and collectively, to help protect the due process and other constitutional rights of so many. Attorneys can also contribute their time and talents to public service in support of groups and causes focused on bridging societal divides, promoting justice and fair treatment, fostering healthy and cooperative dialogues between opposing groups, and promoting unity.
Bar associations are also in a position to use their voice in cases of importance addressing matters of discrimination or those that threaten the rule of law. With members who are attorneys, the bar community is in a fortunate position to serve as a fierce advocate for fair and equal treatment and justice for all Americans.
I have served on the Decalogue Society’s Amicus Committee, which has filed amicus briefs in cases of concern to its members. Bar associations can collaborate with other groups to educate the masses about the concepts of liberty and due process, and the importance of the rule of law in the protection of the same.
In sum, attorneys can separately or collectively act for the benefit of our community and society.
Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys like Mitchell Goldberg here.