Attorney at Law Magazine Phoenix spoke with plaintiff personal injury attorney Scott I. Palumbo of Palumbo Wolfe & Palumbo about his football career while at Notre Dame for the Athletes in Law 2020 issue.
AALM: Relate competing in college football to competing as a lawyer.
SP: In sports, like litigation, both sides are passionate about winning. To win, the athlete and lawyer must spend years preparing for the game/trial. That preparation is hard. But, if done properly, the likelihood of success is vastly increased.
AALM: What qualities make a teammate a good team captain and what qualities make for a good law partner?
SP: Trust. Be the person your teammates, clients and partners can trust will be there for them through thick and thin.
AALM: What did you do to calm your butterflies before a big game and what do you do to calm butterflies before trial?
SP: Listen to music. I always had headphones in before a game and always have headphones in when sitting in court getting ready to start a day of trial.
AALM: Who was your favorite coach at any level and why?
SP: I was fortunate to play under Lou Holtz. He was extremely tough on us, but, in retrospect, he taught us daily lessons that were intended not only to make us better athletes, but better husbands, fathers, teammates, leaders, etc. through the remainder of our lives.
AALM: Do you think attitude was a factor in winning at football as much as it is in practicing law?
SB: Absolutely. If you don’t think you can win, why are you playing?
AALM: How did competing at the NCAA level in football make you a better attorney?
SB: It taught me that the pool of opposing talent is long and deep, with many likely more talented and experienced than you. So, to succeed, you must be prepared, confident and innovative.
Favorite Football Movie: Rudy
Favorite Legal Movie: The Verdict
Favorite Football Quote: “Act like you’ve been there before,” meaning don’t showboat.
Other Sports He Wanted to Play: Baseball. (Shoulder injury made him switch to football.)
His Mantra: W.I.N. – What’s Important Now.