We sat down with each of them to learn a little about their interests inside (and outside) the field of law. Last but not least in our series is David Waterman.
Prior to joining the firm, David spent more than four years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida where he served as a federal prosecutor in the Appellate and Criminal Divisions. As a federal prosecutor, David argued appeals before the Eleventh Circuit and directed federal and local law enforcement agencies in grand jury and wiretap investigations.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, David clerked for The Honorable Michael J. Melloy, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2015 to 2016); The Honorable Mark W. Bennett (Ret.), U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa (2014 to 2015); and The Honorable John A. Jarvey, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa (2013 to 2014).
David earned his J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2013. While at UCLA, David served as a member of the National and State Moot Court Competition Teams and the Vice President of External Affairs of the Moot Court Honors Board. He externed for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (Summer 2012) and for The Honorable David G. Sills, California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (Summer 2011).
Prior to UCLA, he earned his M.Phil. in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge in 2010. He earned his B.A. in Political Science, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from The George Washington University Honors Program in 2009, where he studied abroad for the 2007 to 2008 academic year at the University of Oxford.
At Lane & Waterman, David’s practice areas include civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, government regulatory and compliance, and appeals.
What was your favorite class in law school?
My favorite classes in law school were those that explored the theory and substance of criminal law. Constitutional Criminal Procedure, taught by Professor Laurie Levenson, was probably my favorite. Professor Levenson, a former federal prosecutor (who first came to fame as a legal commentator for CBS during the O.J. Simpson trial), had a contagious excitement and passion for the law. Before class, one would often hear her playfully shouting down the halls of UCLA School of Law, “Last call for a good time!” She reminded us that we, as attorneys, can fight for grand causes, and she inspired us not only to be better attorneys, but better people, who contribute to society’s progress.
What is a book / podcast you’re into right now?
I recently finished reading Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator, wrote the book. Drawing on his experiences in high-stakes negotiations, he provides insightful tips about applying tactical empathy to daily experiences, as well as analyzing human nature. (It’s also worth noting that the author, Chris Voss, was born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.)
What is another career you would consider if not here practicing law?
I’m passionate about political philosophy, and, if not here practicing law, I would have considered pursuing a career in academia, or as a resident scholar at a political think tank. As an undergraduate, my thesis focused on why Cicero’s thought was distinct from the philosophical approaches of Plato and Aristotle. As a graduate student, my dissertation analyzed the philosophy of punishment, including various theories justifying the practice of punishment: retribution, denunciation, and deterrence.
What makes the area of law you hope to focus on attractive or interesting?
I want to be a great trial lawyer, focusing on civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense. As a former federal prosecutor for more than four years, I found satisfaction pursuing truth and justice on a daily basis, “wearing the white hat,” and serving the public good in the courtroom. Now, in the private sector, I find civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense most attractive because I’m able to apply the same skillset that I developed as a federal prosecutor—critical thinking, reading, writing, and arguing—and help clients solve difficult problems. The process of building and executing strong defense strategies, so that our clients achieve the best possible results, is most gratifying.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My parents have repeatedly said the same piece of advice over the years, which I consider the best advice: “Be kind to others; treat people as you would like to be treated.” While the Golden Rule may seem trite, it has always served me (and I think others) well. I’m also particularly fond of a quotation by President Theodore Roosevelt, which urges us to ignore the critics and embrace the challenge with courage and tenacity: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Law & order like shows – Yes or no?
Yes, although I do not watch television often, “Billions” and “Suits” are two of my favorite shows.
Quad Cities style pizza – Yes or no?
Yes, I’m also a fan of Happy Joe’s Pizza, which is headquartered in Bettendorf, Iowa.
Oxford comma – Need it or lose it?
Yes, the Oxford comma is needed. As Bryan Garner explains in Garner’s Modern English Usage, “Whether to include the serial comma has sparked many arguments. But it’s easily answered in favor of inclusion because omitting the final comma may cause ambiguities, whereas including it never will—e.g.: ‘A and B, C and D, E and F[,] and G and H.’”