Who in your life has been instrumental to your success?
My parents of course. Additionally, I have been lucky to have Professor/Retired Judge Bruce A. Markell, Justice Michael L. Douglas and Neil G. Galatz, Esq. as mentors as well.
I started law school in the fall of 2002, and I had Professor Markell for my first semester Contract Law class. Everyone initially thought he was like Kingsfield from the "Paper Chase," but honestly, Professor Markell reminded me of my father -- especially with his sweater vests. Although I was not his top student, Professor Markell was willing (perhaps involuntarily) to mentor me, as I always went to seek advice from during his office hours. I ended up taking a few more of his classes and ultimately he took a liking to me. Because of the relationship forged in law school, he offered me a clerkship at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court after law school.
Similarly, Justice Douglas became my mentor during my clerkship for him at the Supreme Court of Nevada. Although I was an unlikely candidate for a Supreme Court clerkship, Justice Douglas took a leap of faith with me and allowed me to serve him at the Court. I am still lucky to be able to maintain consistent contact with him, and I still seek life's best advice from him. He even presided over my wedding with my wife in 2009.
Before starting my own law firms, I had worked at Greenberg Traurig and Gordon Silver. During my last year at Gordon Silver, I was lucky to have worked with the legendary Neil Galatz. He had been chair of the MGM fire litigation and chair of the PEPCON plaintiff's committee. He had founded the firm that had eventually become Gordon Silver, and he came back during the last year of his life to this firm. He somehow took a liking to me and allowed me to work with him on some endoscopy/hepatitis related litigation. Neil also gave me some great advice about the practice of law and advice on how to live a fruitful life. He was always so proud of his daughter Dr. Leesa Galatz (one of the top surgeons in the United States), and he mentored me on how to raise kids. He gave me the courage to ultimately launch my own law firms (my personal injury practice at Anthem Injury Lawyers and my business practice at the Garg Golden Law Firm). I still keep 100+ volumes of the Nevada Reports in my office bookshelf that I had inherited from him.
What advice would you give to someone starting law school?
The lesson I always preach to everyone (including my 7-year old and 4-year old): network, network and network. It was advice that was given to me by my parents. They would force me to attend business parties at the age of 5 and would force me to do dinners with partners at Arthur Andersen (the reason for my undergraduate accounting degree). I was taught to network at a very young age.
The end result -- although I was not the top student in my law school class, I was able to land prestigious clerkships and opportunities, such as working at firms such as Greenberg Traurig and Gordon Silver (as I kept on networking, networking and networking).
Yes, you have to work hard in life, but you have to also meet and greet everyone that you cross paths with. Shake everyone's hand firmly, say "Hello" and look everyone in the eyes when you talk to them. Get to know people. Never burn bridges. You never know when you will meet the same people again in different settings.