Gregory D. Grove, a principal in Much Shelist’s business & finance group, concentrates his practice on private equity, venture capital and corporate transactions and counseling. He advises funds, boards of directors, management teams, underwriters, and private and public companies at all stages of development, from entrepreneurial to established, operating in a wide range of industries.
How has the practice of law changed from when you first got into it?
Deals are moving faster and everyone is more accessible. I began my practice 15 years ago representing high-technology companies in communications, software and life sciences, as well as the funds that invested in companies in those industries. At that time, sending large documents via e-mail was not common, but now many of the innovations in the communications and software industries have enabled all of us to communicate complex concepts on the move and to send large documents quickly. What has not changed is that clients are looking for practical solutions and advice. Sometimes when folks are rushing into an opportunity or a perceived opportunity, that advice is “step back and think about process, timing and what is important to achieve.” That can run counter to the always-faster pressures we face, but in my experience clients who take time with legal counsel and other advisors to think about the forest and not just individual trees usually achieve better outcomes in negotiation. Typically this happens when clients come to view their attorneys as close strategic partners.
What advice do you have for law students?
Cooperation is key. Law schools typically try to build classes with a mix of experience and backgrounds. Join a study group with people who are strong where you are weak and where you can contribute your strengths to help others. Work on a journal and aim for a leadership role. A complex litigation or complex transaction will require a team approach, where each member will need to contribute to the whole. Experience in supervising, cooperating with and reporting to people with different personalities, learning styles and communication styles will be very important to your legal career. Start practicing now. In addition, you should seek out a mentor at a law firm that defines success not only by the bottom line, but through dedication to client and community service, and creating and nurturing a service-driven culture.
What are the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance?
I try to maintain a workflow system that allows me to stay current on the needs of my clients and the status of my projects, so I can decide how to use any time, including personal time, that becomes available unexpectedly. Of course, “try” is the operative word, and the challenge comes when client needs are very pressing. Reserving time for and keeping commitments to self and family is important, and planning for longer-term client needs helps to minimize the need to make last-minute changes to personal and family commitments. My firm, Much Shelist, has made a commitment to balancing life outside of work with the ongoing demands of the job, and teamwork helps us all balance the load. Finally, we should all learn from each other, and studying friends and colleagues who do this well is one of the ways I try to improve my own work-life balance.