Jeremy Goldstein is one of the partners of at Jeremy L. Goldstein & Associates, an exclusive law firm committed to advising CEOs, management teams, businesses and compensation committees in corporate governance and executive compensation matters, specifically those issues arising in the transformative business events context as well as other sensitive issues.
Goldstein is the chairman of Mergers and Acquisition Sub-committee of the American Bar Association Business Section. Jeremy Goldstein has worked with most of the large corporate deals in the last decade. He is also one of the leading executive compensation attorneys in the USA. He holds a J.D. from the New York University, a B.A. and an M.A. from Cornell University and the University of Chicago respectively.
Where did the idea for JLG Associates come from?
About 10 years ago, there was a lot of talk in governance circles about conflicts of interest in matters of executive compensation. In light of this, we saw many executive compensation consulting firms break off from larger organizations. This got me thinking that maybe there was room in the market place for a law firm to do the same thing. After considering it for a while, I took the plunge.
What do you do to ensure your workday is productive?
I advise my clients about their own pay, their own careers. These are issues near and dear to their hearts. “Should I take this job? How will it affect my life? My family?”
There are no short cuts in this type of work. Not only is the substance of the work — advising, negotiating, drafting — time consuming, but a successful practitioner needs to have a certain bedside manner, which requires full dedication and, of course, 24 hour availability.
As a result, the only way to properly manage my time and ensure productivity is to limit the number of matters that I accept. This is why most of my matters are in the context of extraordinary transactions (e.g., M&A) or matters that otherwise require, and benefit from, my particular experience and skills.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The beauty of having done this for almost 20 years is that there aren’t too many issues that are completely new and, when truly novel issues arise, they usually rhyme with something we’ve seen in the past.
What’s one executive compensation or corporate governance trend that really excites you?
In light of the fact that advocates for shareholder rights have achieved many of the modifications to governance that they’ve sought since the turn of the last millennium, I think that for the first time in many years the governance world in general and executive compensation governance in particular is in a relatively stable place. This means that compensation committees, companies and executives can focus on the key drivers of corporate performance instead of worrying that they are going to run afoul of some emerging rules about best practices. I think this is driving some very thoughtful discussions around linking pay and strategy/performance and less wasted time on exercises in box checking.
What is one habit or quality of yours that makes you a more effective lawyer?
I think that the better one knows one’s clients, the better advice one can give. I therefore make a real effort to develop and maintain relationships. I try to speak with my clients periodically even when we don’t have an active matter. Where possible, I see my clients in person socially and professionally.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Things that seem like setbacks are opportunities. Every time I thought something was one of the worst things that could happen to me, it turned out to be one of the best.
What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When I started, a client advised me to be aggressive about buying new technology. Specifically, he said don’t wait until your computer crashes to buy a new one. I’ve followed this advice .
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’m not sure it’s a strategy so much as a way of being but it’s important to take an interest in people. Stay in touch, call, write, email, follow up. When people know you’re interested, they are more likely to turn to you for advice. There is no substitute for caring.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Knockout options. You can read about them here.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It was less than $100. It’s an app called TurboScan. It allows me to send hand markups of documents from my phone as PDFs. Invaluable for a lawyer who has a mobile practice.