Arturo Gonzalez victory lap? Getting on with business

Discovery with Arturo J. González

Published in 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine

If you were in my office, you’d … see a picture of me and Cesar Chavez. He came to speak at Harvard Law School during my third year, in 1985. I was torn about whether to work in public interest or at a large law firm. His response gave me goosebumps: “If you can, go to one of the large firms where there are no Latino lawyers … and be the best lawyer at that firm.” 

When I was a newbie lawyer I … traveled the country taking and defending depositions.

The lawyer I most admire is … Thurgood Marshall, who left his home and tried important civil rights cases in a hostile environment. I can relate to that. I have tried 10 civil rights cases, most of them in the Central Valley.

The quality I most like in a lawyer is … courage.

My pre-trial routine is … to review every trial exhibit. 

When I started, I wish I knew … that “business development” mattered.

When I win a case, I celebrate by … moving on to my next case.

My real-life hero is … Spartacus.

On weekends I … go mountain biking, and work.

On my best day I … get a call from a new client with a big problem.

On my worst day I … get a call from my client telling me, “We settled.”

The movie line I quote most often is … “When a man who makes $400 an hour wants to tell you something for free, you should listen.” (The War of the Roses)

Nothing cheers me up like … my cocker spaniel.

The most annoying thing about my job is … client conflicts. A client comes to me with a great case, but I have to turn it down because we do a small amount of work for the party they want to sue.

If I won the lottery, I’d … give away more scholarships to low-income students.

My courtroom walk-up music would be … “Bad to the Bone.”

My advice for young lawyers is … find time for yourself, and especially your family. Judge [William] Alsup once said to me, “When you’re on your deathbed, you’ll never wish you had spent more time in the office.”

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