Daryl Lansdale thwapped his bass guitar through many raucous shows during his undergraduate days at the University of Texas. His heart told him it would be a great way to make a living, but his bankbook told him something different. So he enrolled at Southern Methodist University School of Law.
He continued to play in bands through law school—you may have caught him at the Green Elephant, a popular SMU hangout. In fact, Lansdale, 39, still gets a group of friends together for regular jam sessions. But he’s keeping his day job as head of the corporate and securities group at Fulbright & Jaworski in San Antonio.
“We’re a basement band now,” he says with no hint of remorse. “The reality was I wasn’t talented enough and I had no interest in being a starving artist.”
He was briefly interested in entertainment law, but realized that New York, Los Angeles and Nashville are the hot markets to practice it and he wasn’t willing to leave his home.
Lansdale joined Fulbright & Jaworski in 1992, and in 1998 actually did move to New York for about two years during the height of the dot-com boom. He helped with the enormous workload resulting from a spate of IPOs, venture capital transactions, and mergers and acquisitions.
“The volume of work was keeping us busy from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. We were there every single night. It was a great time for a corporate and securities lawyer to be in New York,” he says. He considered staying, but returned to Texas in 2000 because he was ready to start a family and wanted to do that in San Antonio.
Lansdale is a longtime board member and past president of St. Mary’s University’s Forum on Entrepreneurship, a breakfast series that books luminaries from the business world to speak to students and members of the local business community. The Forum also sponsors a scholarship program.
While on the clock and off, Lansdale has offered professional advice that has helped several local entrepreneurs grow. He loves business, but is happy participating from his legal vantage point.
“My skill set is counseling and advising,” he says. “I approach this practice in an entrepreneurial way—developing small clients into large clients. But starting a business has never been an interest.”
Unless, perhaps, it was a rock band.