Attorney at Law Magazine Los Angels Publisher Sarah Torres sat down with Jason Stone to discuss mentors and what he finds rewarding in his career.
AALM:Do you have any mentors or professors that encouraged you along the way? What is the best lesson they taught you?
Stone: I had the privilege of working for a judge for three years. As an observer and participant in the settlement discussions and trials, I learned the effective skills to implement in my cases today. I remember counsel during closing arguments addressed the strengths and weaknesses of his case in a direct and open manner. That resonated with me as it built credibility and connected with the jury. I used the same strategy in a recent business litigation trial in downtown L.A. The judge appreciated my candor and this helped us secure a six-figure verdict.
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about your practice?
Stone: Our clients are active and retired professionals, charities and businesses in the community. Because of the nature of our business, real estate and estate planning clients, we build long-term relationships. I have enjoyed joining many clients as a member of their boards and businesses, which has given me a chance to reduce problems from a preventative approach and help to enhance their endeavors. Attorneys have a great opportunity to provide information with our changing legal and political landscape to improve and it is a great way to meet many interesting people.
AALM: Tell us about your firm.
Stone: Operating a practice requires a strong team. We have been fortunate in surrounding ourselves with great attorneys and support staff. We have an open-door policy – questions, concerns and suggestions are always welcome, and we mean it. For example, we have made it a point to work with our team to increase our capabilities as a paperless office. Documents are scanned and organized, preserved and easily accessible. As we leverage technology, it reduces expense and helps us to better communicate with our clients.
AALM: Are there any changes coming in the future that you’re excited about?
Stone: As we continue to work with businesses and coordinate estate plans and administration, an aging population creates a variety of issues. We see ourselves as the bridge between generations with a desire for wealth preservation and wealth creation. Our clients work to build, or now want to enjoy and protect, their dream or vision. As we do our part to avoiding legal pitfalls, reducing problems and implement succession planning, we are able to provide some peace of mind that if the client needs additional consulting whether tax or financial, we have a roster of resources for them to consider. We know what we do well and if there are additional needs, we are happy to connect and present options.
AALM: What case most defined or redefined your practice?
Stone: I represented two brothers who each invested in a real estate development due to the recommendation of their CPA. The managing members of the deal had failed to maintain records and distribute the cash flow in accordance with the bylaws of the corporation. The brothers had built a reserve to pursue the litigation and we were underway. Yet shortly into the process, we were able to settle following mediation. This case highlights my focus on efficiency and time. While we maintained appropriate assertiveness throughout the case, we constantly sought opportunities for resolution. The mediation was a helpful tool in which due to our experience, we were confident it could be effective. Our bottom line is results. The brothers actually found another investment shortly after the settlement and doing very well.
AALM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Stone: It is an honor to serve as an attorney in the community. We always bear that in mind.