Linda Pfatteicher & Frank L. Bernstein | Squire Patton Boggs
Squire Patton Boggs
Frank L. Bernstein
Squire Patton Boggs
How do you maintain yours and your team's daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, pushback or setbacks during this shelter-in-place?
Linda – Keeping a sense of humor is our best defense against all the feelings we may be experiencing right now – fear, depression, worry. Laughter really is the best medicine. So remember to laugh – at yourself, with your housemates and colleagues, at stand-up comedy – whatever makes you belly laugh. It will help give you the strength to get through these challenging days.
What do you consider yours and/or your company’s biggest strength during COVID-19?
Linda – We have a tremendous public policy team in Washington DC that is tracking the rapidly evolving legislation and interpretive guidance that has been issued over the past several weeks. While our policy team is always a great resource for us, it has been particularly valuable during these days of the pandemic where governments around the world are trying to quickly address the unique and strange environment in which we find ourselves.
Do you have a mentor? Who opened a door for you?
Frank – I have had a number of amazing mentors in my career. The mentor who opened the biggest door for me by is the one with whom I actually spent the least time. I literally owe my career to him. (I remember his name, but I will not repeat it here.) When I was applying to patent law firms for a summer job, I received a lot of rejections, a lot of non-responses, and a very few invitations to interview. One kind gentleman, a name partner at a DC patent firm wrote to me, told me that his firm was not hiring, but that I should visit him when I was in town (Washington, DC) to interview. So I visited him. He spent 45 minutes with me, going through the list of firms to whom I had applied, telling me the people he knew at those various firms. But above all, he exhorted me to knock on doors at the firms who hadn’t answered my letter. He said that lawyers aren’t always rude; they’re just busy. One of the doors on which I knocked was at the firm that ultimately hired me, and at which I spent the first 20 years of my career. I cannot imagine a bigger opened door.
What is your greatest current frustration?
Frank – People seem to be looking for ways to disagree rather than ways to agree. We are never going to heal all the divisions around us unless we all try to look for common ground. It really is not that hard, not nearly as hard as some make it out to be.
What are people thinking but are afraid to express?
Frank – Too many things. A very hard question to answer. The listener too often hears something that the speaker never intended or even imagined. It is increasingly hard to express feelings or views without the recipient (or even just a third-party observer) being cuttingly critical or mean. This kind of exchange is just one example of people looking for ways to disagree rather than ways to agree.
Where do you find inspiration?
Linda – Inspiration can be found in our experience of shared sacrifice. Never has it been more true that we are all in this together and are making daily sacrifices for one another. This is an incredibly powerful concept that should bring us closer and reinvigorate our sense of community.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Frank – The best advice I have ever received was the following, from one of my mentors: “Recognize what you can and can’t control and act accordingly.” Some will recognize this as a paraphrase of the beginning of the Serenity Prayer, which is associated with various 12-step recovery programs, but which originated from an American Reformed theologian, Reinhold Neibuhr: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I first heard this advice at the beginning of 1989, and have been working on it ever since.
What is your recommendation for a not-to-miss movie/show/series on Netflix or other streaming services?
Linda – Arrested Development
What will be the first place you visit/thing you do once the shelter-in-place is lifted?
Frank – Paso Robles for wine tasting
What excites you most about ACGSV? How do you get the most out of your sponsorship?
Linda – Connections. Now more than ever we need to stay connected with those whom we can help and those who can help us. ACGSV has a strong network of professionals who have similar goals and sensibilities, and we are thrilled to be a part of this community.