Think of the law firm as a team

A Conversation On Leadership & Life In The Law With Sid Israels

Sid Israels is a distinguished attorney at Fennemore Wendel who possesses extensive experience in real estate, business and regulatory matters. He represents a broad spectrum of clients, including title insurers and agents, healthcare providers, transportation logistics, food processors, lenders, agribusinesses, real estate investors and venture capital providers.

Sid provides first-hand knowledge of the Great Central Valley’s changing demographics and connectivity to our clients and their expanding needs, and he helped originate and maintains strong connections with Fennemore Wendel’s Modesto office.

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Sid about lessons learned and his life in the legal profession.

In this week’s leadership profile, we’re happy to visit our new Modesto, CA office and turn the spotlight on distinguished attorney Sidney A. Israels! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a native of Modesto with memories of growing up with a famous neighbor, George Lucas.

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

I would say be adaptive to change and develop a niche practice. Avoid being in a “silo.”  It’s better to “cross sell” to colleagues who have the expertise to address your clients’ needs. This helps develop your network.

Like a primary care physician, your clients appreciate your ability to be his or her “gate keeper,” and this will lead to more business.

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

I have many heroes and mentors. But for me, I have two for sure. My Mother and Father who escaped Germany in the late thirties. Had that not occurred, I most likely would not be here today.

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

Best Advice: Think of the law firm as a team.

Worst Advice: Don’t think of the law firm as a team (actually said to me: “we’re not the Green Bay Packers!”)

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

Reading:  David Gergen’s “Hearts Touched With Fire”.

 I am almost finished and enjoying Adam Grant’s “Think Again

Streaming:  Jeff Bridges “The Old Man”.  

Your motto is “Let’s Make It Happen,” and you’re passionate about helping kids. Tell us more about this part of your life – and why is it so important to you?

I have always enjoyed mentoring others. I view it as “paying it forward” to those who may be able to benefit from my experience. Sometimes it’s giving them advice or providing them with an opportunity or connection.

 That is why I so enjoy being a Trustee and Member of the UC Merced Foundation.  It is simply amazing to witness the progress and success of one of the nation’s newest and fastest-growing research public university. What is most gratifying is how UC Merced has provided significant opportunities for low-income and under-represented ethnic groups.

Many thanks to Sid for his sage advice and wisdom – and to all of the attorneys in our Business & Finance practice group who make a positive impact on our clients, and the community!

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