Attorney at Law Magazine Miami Publisher Rhenne Leon sat down with Pedro Gassant to discuss what drew him to being a attorney.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Gassant: The Terri Schiavo case is what attracted me to the law. That case involved a young woman who suffered a heart attack and was left in vegetative state. Her husband, who had been appointed her legal guardian, was convinced that his wife would not have wanted to live in that condition and requested that the feeding tubes be removed. What happened after is what drew me to the law. I was fascinated by the fact that it was lawyers – not doctors – who determined whether a hospitalized citizen would live or die. I knew then and there that the practice of law is paramount in our society.
AALM: How is the practice of law different than your expectations in law school?
Gassant: Law school focuses a tremendous amount of energy on logic and reason and tends to dismiss the importance of passion and emotion in effectively advocating a case. The practice of law, however, encourages the utilization of passion and well-timed emotions to effectively present, and resolve, a case. In addition, law school tends to ignore the fact that law is a service business based on people. The successful practice of law, however, requires a keen understanding that we serve our clients and not merely the whims of logic.
AALM: What drew you to your current firm? How would you describe the culture there? How would you describe your role within the firm?
Gassant: The people are what drew me to Holland & Knight. When I first interviewed at the firm, the first thing I noticed was the affinity between the staff and the attorneys. The amicable relationship between the staff and the attorneys impressed upon me that the firm’s culture was one that encouraged true comraderie.
AALM: With technology and an ever-global world, how do you see the legal profession evolving over your career? Do you believe this will be positive or negative?
Gassant: Yes. The legal profession will be confronting some significant changes in the upcoming years. In years to come, lawyers will not be competing against other lawyers; we will be competing against algorithms and other technology. Adapting ourselves to this technological environment now is essential to ensuring that we’re ready for the future.
AALM: Working with senior partners what is a trait they have that you would like to carry through to the next generation of lawyers? As a newer generation lawyer, what traits do you have that you think senior partners should adopt into their practice?
Gassant: There is a determined focus our senior partners have that would be an excellent trait to pass on to my generation. I think that one of the core skills that my generation has is the ability to interface with technology. Technology brings much more efficiency and the ability to interface with technology would greatly benefit our senior partners.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
Gassant: In the future, I really would like for my kids to look at me and say that I have been an excellent father. That would be a great accomplishment.