Attorney at Law Magazine Phoenix spoke with Benjamin Daulton of Daulton Law LLC about his time playing fullback on the Arizona State University rugby team for the Athletes in Law 2020 issue.
Daulton is a solo practitioner and strategic executive at SHI International. He assists my clients in legal strategy, sales, project management, partner development and large-scale technology objectives.
AALM: What lessons did you learn from playing rugby that you apply to your practice today?
BD: As a 5’9″ rugby player I was an immediate underdog walking onto the field. I knew that if I was going to be successful, I had to approach the sport with tenacity and resilience. Rugby taught me that in sports, and in life, its not how hard you can hit, but how much you can get hit and keep moving forward. I also prided myself in showing the big guy that the little guy could be someone to be feared on the field.
AALM: What are some of the most important lessons your coach taught you?
BD: My coach taught me that belief is equally as important as talent. My coach believed I could be the best player on the field each game, which instilled confidence in my abilities. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to believe in you, to achieve goals you never thought were possible. I try to be that person for my friends, colleagues, family, and players that I coach.
AALM: Who is your favorite rugby hero? Who is your legal idol?
BD: My father. He played rugby both in college and in semi-pro leagues. My legal idol is Ray Anderson. The pathway he took toward success in law and business is inspirational.
AALM: What are three reasons you like being part of a team sport? What are three reasons you like being an attorney?
BD: The three reasons I like being involved in team sport are: (1) being part of something bigger than yourself; (2) camaraderie; and (3) passion. I like being an attorney to (1) help others: (2) the intellectual stimulation; and (3) being part of something bigger than yourself.
AALM: Relate competing in a sport to competing as a lawyer?
BD: In sports you have to strive to be better than you were yesterday. The same is true in your profession. Success does not come without hard work in either field.
AALM: Who do you wish was watching you perform at every game or match?
BD: My father and mother.
AALM: What qualities make a teammate a good team captain? What qualities make for a good law partner?
BD: Being a good captain means holding yourself accountable for you and the team’s success. You have to take responsibility and consistently lead by example. The same holds true in law.
AALM: What is the one thing you always did after a good performance?
BD: After a good performance in rugby you typically went out to eat with the opposing team for pizza and beer. The thing I loved most about rugby is you could be enemies on the field, but friends immediately after. Rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentleman.
Rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentleman.
AALM: What did you do to calm your butterflies while you compete? What do you do to calm butterflies before trial?
BD: I listened to music and my hype up playlist. Strangely I do the same before a big meeting or case.
AALM: What other sports did you play?
BD: Basketball. I played it in high school and still coach it. Our team was the runner up State Champion for 6A in the State of Arizona for 2020.
AALM: Who inspired you as a young athlete?
BD: Pat Tillman, my father, and Steve Nash. I loved the underdogs at their position, who became legends because they were unselfish, played extremely hard, and had amazing character.
AALM: Who was your favorite coach at any level and why?
BD: My high school basketball JV Coach Lane Waddell. He believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. His confidence helped me be confident as a young man.
AALM: What is your favorite mantra?
BD: The true test of one man’s character is what he does when nobody is watching.
AALM: Do you think attitude is as big of a factor in winning in the practice of law as it is when playing a sport?
BD: Absolutely. Attitude is everything in every aspect of life.
AALM: How did competing at the NCAA level in athletics make you a better attorney?
BD: It taught me that if hard work can lead to success. It taught me to never allow anyone to outwork you in sports or your profession.
Favorite Rugby Movie: Invictus
Favorite Legal Movie: Jerry McGuire
Favorite Rugby Quote: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” — Invictus
Other Sports He Played: Basketball
Food He Ate before a Big Competition: Pasta from Oregano’s on Mill Avenue
How He Celebrated After a Game: Shared pizza and beer with opposing team
Who Inspired Him: Pat Tillman, His Father, Steve Nash