Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Radix Law’s newest partner Gary Lento. He is a former assistant district attorney who focuses his practice on business, civil and commercial litigation.
AALM: What inspired you to pursue a career in law, and how did you get your start in the legal profession?
GL: I have always been competitive, and a legal career matched my personality. I began my career as an assistant district attorney in Wisconsin. It was a great experience which allowed me to get into the courtroom quickly.
AALM: How is your career different today than you envisioned while attending law school?
GL: I never expected my legal career would take me to California where I eventually became a partner in a mid- to large-sized law firm, or to Arizona where I would, among other things, work as special litigation counsel in the Arizona Attorney General’s office. These positions have taken me to all areas of the United States, and internationally to London, Sweden, Copenhagen, and other parts of the world.
AALM: What has been your most challenging case, and how did you overcome any obstacles you faced during the proceedings?
GL: Two cases come to mind. I was one of the attorneys who represented the family of a mother and daughter murdered by Carey Stayner in what became known as the Yosemite Murders. It was tragic to learn what happened, and I was proud to assist in what little way I could. I also assisted in the representation of a husband accused of killing his wife by selenium poisoning. The case garnered national attention, and we were able to avoid criminal charges, allowing our client to retain custody of his children.
AALM: In your opinion, what qualities are essential for a successful lawyer, and how do you cultivate those qualities in yourself?
GL: The best qualities are a willingness to roll up your sleeves and work a case. It doesn’t take much effort when the law and facts are on your side. It takes resolve, persistence and tenacity when issues are not so clear.
AALM: What advice would you give to young law students or aspiring lawyers who are just starting out in their careers?
GL: Realize that it takes hard work after law school to become successful. Your learning does not end with graduation, it just begins. Early on, experience as many different areas of law as possible to learn and decide how to spend the rest of your legal career. Also, a broad base of experience and knowledge is beneficial.
AALM: What do you consider to be your biggest achievement or success in your legal career so far?
GL: There is no “one” biggest achievement. I have found it an “achievement” to learn about my clients and their individual businesses such that I can assist in their advancement. I respect and admire the entrepreneurial nature of startups and helping them become successful is an achievement.
AALM: How are you involved in the local community?
GL: Not as much as I’d like to be. I am new to the Scottsdale community, so just getting to learn all that is offered here. In the past I have been involved in the local legal Bar associations and was a board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs in California.
AALM: Outside of your professional life, what are some of your hobbies or interests that help you unwind and maintain a healthy work-life balance?
GL: A healthy work-life balance has always been a challenge. When my body lets me, I like to go to the gym and run outside; anything athletic.
AALM: What is something our readers would be surprised to learn about you?
GL: I played semi-professional football for the Racine Raiders in Wisconsin. It is one of the oldest and most successful semi-pro teams in the country. During my seven years, we played in four National Championships, winning two of them. Hence the aches and pains!