If you find that every attorney on the other side of a matter is a jerk, you might want to re-think your style.

Lessons Learned & Reflections On Life In The Law With Steve Cramer

Attorney Steve Cramer has practiced law for over 30 years. Steve focuses on commercial and real estate transactions, representing both buyers and sellers in public and private merger and acquisitions.

We recently had the pleasure of talking with Steve about lessons learned and his life in the legal profession.

In this week’s leadership profile, we’re happy to visit our new Oakland, CA office and turn the spotlight on one of the new members of our Management Committee, attorney Steven J. Cramer!

How are things going during this transition period? 

So far so good. Transitions are always challenging, and you have to expect some disruptions. So far, these have been limited though, and the Fennemore support forces have been spectacular. We seem to be through the roughest patch.

 And what is your vision for the future as Fennemore Wendel continues to grow in the East Bay?

Short term, there’s an  opportunity for meaningful growth via laterals. I’ve already had folks from other firms reach out.

Longer term, I can see us broadening our legal services and doing more business in the South Bay and Peninsula.

Without naming your clients, are there any intriguing current matters that you’re working on in the business & finance sector?

Intriguing is a tough standard.  I’m still seeing robust M & A activity, and the consolidators are still living up to their name, but nothing earth shattering.

What would you tell your younger self – or a 1L at the UCLA School of Law now contemplating a career in the legal profession?

Try to keep a good relationship whenever possible. It will often help close a deal or case, and even if it doesn’t it will help, you avoid burn-out. If you find that every attorney on the other side of a matter is a jerk, you might want to re-think your style.

Who is your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

Leaving family out of it, it’s my old boss Fred Cummings. We had a lot of fun practicing and he was a brilliant lawyer (to the extent I’m willing to gauge that), a great friend and mentor.

Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn? And how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

I had a client years ago that was a big part of my practice who turned out to be a problem. It’s okay to have a large, impactful client, but I should have kept more distance from this one. Ultimately, we had to part company, and it took a year to fill in that work. 

What’s the best – and worst – piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

For best: Fred Cummings (see above) wanted me to do transaction work because it’s easier to have strong relationships with your clients. He was right there. 

For worst: nothing comes to mind. Could be I’ve blocked it out.

What are you currently listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

I’m reading The Bomber Mafia, which is just okay so far.   Watching Hollow Crown on Netflix and Derry Girl re-runs (new season soon). Favorite song for today: July by Noah Cyrus (feat. Leon Bridges).

Last, but not least, you’re hosting a lavish dinner at your home. Name the three people – from any time in human history – who you’d invite.

For me lavish is backyard pizza, but to your question:  Keeping it local: Julia Morgan(Cal Grad, designed Hearst Castle and many bay area landmarks); Bill Russell, (McClymonds High, Oakland, USF); Clint Eastwood (Oakland Tech).

Many thanks to Steve, and all of the attorneys and allied legal professionals in our Oakland office who make such a positive impact on our firm, clients, and the communities where we live, work and serve!

How can we help your business? The Fennemore Wendel business and finance attorneys in the East Bay represent national, regional and local clients participating in significant transactions. For more information, please visit: https://www.fennemorelaw.com/services/practices/business-and-finance/

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