This week on the Legally Speaking Podcast, our host Rob Hanna was joined by Daniel Winterfeldt. Daniel has recently been recognised as Honorary Queen’s Counsel. This award is given to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the legal profession of England and Wales outside of the courts. Daniel is also a Global Capital Markets Partner, working for the Global Law Firm Reed Smith based in London; and Founder of the InterLaw Diversity Forum & the Forum for US Securities Lawyers in London.
Daniel talks about his journey into the law, his experiences from working in law firms around the world and shares all the great work he is doing through his Diversity & Inclusion initiatives to give back to the legal sector.
Rob Hanna (00:00):
Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast Powered by Kissoon Carr. I’m your host, Rob Hanna. This week. I’m delighted to be joined by Daniel Winterfeldt. Daniel has recently been recognized as an honorary Queens Counsel. This is an award given to those who have made extra ordinary contributions to the legal profession of England and Wales outside of the court. Daniel is also a global capital markets Partner working for the global law firm Reed Smith based in London. Doesn’t stop there. He’s also the founder of Interlaw Diversity Forum and The Forum for US Securities Lawyers in London. So a very big welcome Daniel!
Daniel Winterfeldt (00:39):
Great. Thank you, Robert. Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today.
Rob Hanna (00:43):
No absolute pleasure. I have no idea how we going to fit in in half an hour, all the amazing things you do. I don’t know how you manage to fit everything into your demanding day job, but before we go into all of that, we do have an ice breaker question on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which you may or may not be aware of, which is on the scale of one to 10, 10 being very real, how real would you rate the TV hit series Suits in terms of its reality?
Daniel Winterfeldt (01:14):
Okay, well, I’m going to have to say N slash A, because I’ve actually never seen an episode of Suits.
Rob Hanna (01:20):
That’s fair enough. And I think that’s the noble answer. I think most of the lawyers that we’ve spoken to haven’t actually watched it or have no interest. So we’ll deal on a zero.
Daniel Winterfeldt (01:27):
I just think that I have been told by a lot of people that I should watch it and that it’s really entertaining and really fun. And that I would think it was enjoyable, but that’s always been non-lawyers.
Rob Hanna (01:41):
Haha indeed. So let, let’s start at the beginning, you know, you’ve gone on to do so many amazing things, which we’re going to talk about, but tell us a bit about your family background and upbringing.
Daniel Winterfeldt (01:49):
Okay. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in the Midwest, in the US it’s a town of about 700, 800,000 people about the size of Barcelona. We are famous for being on a river. We have a Cincinnati reds is our baseball team with the Cincinnati Bengals our football team. We have an orchestra that’s world class, and we have, we share a ballet and opera with new Orleans. So I grew up there and I wanted to get away as soon as possible. I think when you’re young and you’re LGBT, it’s a very conservative place. It’s more open now than it was then. But growing up in the, you know, the late seventies and the eighties, it was quite a conservative place. It was the Reagan years, the equivalent of kind of what went on here under, under Thatcher in many ways. And it didn’t seem like a very happy time. So I definitely wanted to get away, you know, and I was, my family is Jewish American, three of my four grandparents are immigrants from Eastern Europe who came to America to escape the Holocaust. So I lost a large portion of my family. They ended up in America and they all ended up in Cincinnati and met each other. And my parents were both born and raised in Cincinnati. So they’re first generation Americans. We went from having, you know, my grandparents all came to the U S with no English, no education, no money. And they educated themselves. My grandfather on my mom’s side, sold pots, you know, pots and pans out of the back of his car. So my parents, you know, educated themselves, went to college and both became professionals. My father is an engineer and my mother’s an RN and an educator. So our heroes of the day, and I went to university in st. Louis in Missouri.
Daniel Winterfeldt (03:32):
I did premed and then realized about my junior year when I went abroad to Spain, that I could not bear the thought of going to school for another, like, I think you study for another five to seven years to become a doctor. And law was just another three. So I was good with three more years at a profession. So I switched from doctor to lawyer, which is not a giant pivot for a Jewish American kid, because we’re pretty much told you were going to be a doctor or a lawyer or a third fill in the blank professional. And yeah. And so I ended up in law and I picked law as well because I’d been abroad to Spain and I spoke fluent Spanish, and I wanted to be able to do something that I, where I could travel and do things that were international. And I felt like the, the medical profession was very sedentary. So I wanted the opportunity to help people and assist people. Like I would do a medicine, but also have an international elements, my career. And, you know, here I am 22 years into it, having lived in Spain, having you’ve done a clerkship at the European court and Luxembourg having practiced in New York and Miami prior to moving to England. So, you know, that has been a big feature of my career has been international clients and a cross border element in my work.
Rob Hanna (04:39):
And that was going to be my first sort of question around that actually you’ve worked, as you say, in New York versus London, what have been some of the differences you’ve found sort of practicing as a lawyer in those different locations?
Daniel Winterfeldt (04:51):
Two observations on that. I mean, one is, there’s a different culture, obviously, in London versus New York, New York is a, you know, a 24/7city where everything is delivered, everything’s at your fingertips. And because of that, go, go go culture. You are expected to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I mean, not only did you stay up all night for clients, but clients actually expected it, you weren’t even thanked for doing that. Where I think very much you come to London and, you know, we, aren’t quite a 24/7 culture. There is a lot, still a lot of pressure in the law and there’s still long hours, but if you stay up late or you stay up all night, you got always got a thank you from your client and from your colleagues. And that to me, was a refreshing change. From a diversity and inclusion perspective, things were very, very different. I mean, obviously there’s very different, you know, makeups and histories between the UK and the US around all kinds of strands of D&I, but there was just a lot more visible diversity and social mobility in New York than there was in London when I moved here 20 years ago. And I would say over the past 20 years, I literally moved here in 2000. So it is 20 years this autumn that I’ve been in London, I would say that we have moved forward quite a bit in the past, particularly in the past decade in London on that front.
Daniel Winterfeldt (06:03):
But I think that in many ways, the US has flipped backwards in the past decade. We’re kind of neck and neck in different ways in, in that space. But, but definitely a bit more of a laid back and a bit more civilized culture here. Also, there’s much more of a culture of people having vacations and times off and holiday where in the US you know, there’s much less of that. And if you have it, you often can’t use it.
Rob Hanna (06:27):
Yeah, no, absolutely. And as you say, during your time in the UK, you’ve worked for some amazing US and UK firms, you know, from Weil, to Jones Day to Simmons, CMS, you know, again, for people, we have a lot of junior listeners listening in that contemplating whether a US firm might be right for them or a UK firm might be right for them. What have been some of the differences you’ve seen from those experiences?
Daniel Winterfeldt (06:50):
Well, look, I think the big difference is not necessarily cultural because I think that law firms now are global and often globally run, some are more regional, but I do think that we as a profession have more in common than different between the U S and the UK. But I would definitely say is that when you work for a us firm in London, you are working at the satellite office of a firm that most likely has a very large office in the U S and that has advantages and disadvantages being in a smaller office. But flip side is being at the UK firms. I’ve been at, you are at the mothership, and you’re usually at the head office and Reed Smith is interesting, cause it’s a bit of a hybrid and we have our management teams spread out globally. And our largest office is our London office, even though we’re perceived and started as a US firm.
Daniel Winterfeldt (07:36):
So we are quite global, but I would say you definitely, for people who are listening, who are looking and thinking about their careers, you should absolutely get out there. And research firms, talk to firms. They are different, even in the US I mean, a California firm versus a Chicago firm versus a New York firm often has a very different culture and feel. So it’s really important to do your research, see what you can find online, but I think a lot of what you find online can be a bit samey because people tend to say the same thing what’s far more important is to talk to people who have worked there, who have done work experience, and really get from first-hand experience about what people will second-hand experience, but directly from people who have worked within those organizations. And there isn’t one right place for anybody, but it is really important to think about who you are, what you value, what practice areas you’re interested in, and also what you’re looking for culturally, when you look to find that match for your career.
Rob Hanna (08:31):
And just talking of practice areas. I mean, I’m very aware of all the great work you do, but for our listeners, tell us more about your current practice in terms of the work and the types of clients you service. O.
Daniel Winterfeldt (08:41):
kay, I’m a global capital markets partner at Reed Smith. I’m so I’m admitted to the state of New York. So I’m US qualified, which doesn’t really exist. You’re only admitted to practice in States. So I’m admitted to the Bar of the state of New York. We only have one kind of lawyer in the US, you either are one or you aren’t and you have to take the bar exam and pass. So I did that in New York, in 98, I passed the bar exam. Later on, I became a qualified solicitor in England and Wales. First, I was a registered foreign practicing lawyer for many years. And then I took the QLTT, may it rest in peace. And was one the last groups cohorts who were able to take that easier version of dual qualifying. And they also give you recognition for the years that I’ve been practicing in London. So I do capital markets work. That means we work with either public companies or private companies looking to go public, mostly on the London Stock Exchange, but I do international deals as well. So I worked on offerings in Germany, in India, in Kazakhstan and all over you know, central, Eastern Europe. And those companies are looking to raise funds. So they’re either private looking to go public, which is your initial public offering, or an IPO, or people are doing secondary fundraisings where they’re already listed. And there’s usually an element of selling those securities, both sometimes to the public, or sometimes they’re just private placements to institutions in Europe or the US my job as a US securities lawyer is to advise those companies on how they can access funding in the US without registering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, which is the U S version of the STA.
Rob Hanna (10:16):
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think you touched on it there and some of the clients, and one of the questions I’m keen to ask is you very much are a trusted advisor to your clients. What do you think as a sort of aspiring lawyer, or going through that journey, what do they need to be able to show, to get to that level?
Daniel Winterfeldt (10:35):
Well, I think what, you know, they say, if you want to be an expert at something, it takes at least 10 years of full-time work to become an expert. And I think that is true. So I think what you need to do at any level within your career is make sure that you are a hundred percent engaged. You are always learning. You are curious, you are asking questions. When I started my career, I was doing due diligence and we’d be put in a room. You know, these don’t exist anymore. Most data rooms are now virtual, but we really, we put in a room with, you know, a hundred boxes and you’d have to go through every single document, summarize it, take notes to produce due diligence reports. I’m both, I’m an ideals. And you also do documentary due diligence on capital markets deals. And when you’re doing that, you’re learning about a company. So every little task you do, even if it seems like, cause a lot of people say due diligence, it’s busy work, it’s mind numbing, but you know, you read through all the board minutes of a company, that’s the heart of the decision making of the board. If you’re reading through a company’s leases from front to back, you’re going to learn everything there is to know about real estate. You’ll learn about what terms are standard and what terms deviate or look different.
Daniel Winterfeldt (11:40):
And that just kind of goes forward for every area, for the documents you’re reviewing. So I would say no matter what you’re doing, if you’re in a meeting taking notes, make sure you are engaged, you are present and you are learning everything you can learn, and you might not realize it, but you’re picking up the pieces to a puzzle that down the line, suddenly the pieces fall together. And it’s almost like learning a foreign language when you first start, If you’re completely immersed in the beginning, it’s very challenging and very difficult and at times it even feels like you’re drowning, but if you just keep going, you just have that mental breakthrough and that’s when you start building expertise and that’s when you start really being able to service clients. And I also think what you need to make sure you’re doing as well is alongside that technical knowledge and learning of the law and commerciality, how businesses work and understanding commercial drivers is important.
Daniel Winterfeldt (12:27):
But the third part is the people element and making sure that you’re able to interact with people, read people, you’re communicating well with your internal colleagues and with your clients to make sure you’re delivering the best service. And you’re building those people skills because that’s where you become that trusted advisor there. They don’t just want legal advice. You advise them within the law on risks, but then you also need to take that commercial issues into account. And also think about politics both inside and outside your client about how to approach issues and find solutions. So what you’re doing is helping people find solutions to their problems and more and more on transactions, I find that I’m kind of pulled in by people at very senior levels to help solve issues or give my advice on issues that often aren’t even, you know, capital markets, they’re just business related issues, but in the context of a deal, we might be having direct disclosure about it, or they may have to make an announcement about particular activities.
Daniel Winterfeldt (13:23):
So you become that trusted advisor and people seek you out. And also as you become more senior, you could be on a deal with bankers or you know, or opposing counsel who don’t have as much experience and you’re able to, you know, help and guide people along in the deal. And the nice thing about a capital markets deal is while you have, you know, the issuer side and the financial advisor underwriter’s side, and we each have opposing sets of counsel, it is a collegial atmosphere where you’re all trying to work together to get that transaction done. And there’s obviously a few areas where you do become adversarial in the sense that you’re negotiating terms of the underwriting agreement, for example, but the majority of the work you do, you are all collaborating and you’re all working together. And if I had a theme of all the work that I do it is that collaboration and bringing together groups of people to help accomplish things.
Rob Hanna (14:14):
Yeah, absolutely. And you’ve worked on some really magnificent complex deals, transactions, but is there one that sort of stands out to you that you you’ve done throughout your career that you’re most proud of?
Daniel Winterfeldt (14:25):
Well, I wouldn’t say there was one in particular, but I would say that, you know, there, there are two that I think have been really big kind of ground-breaking clients in my career. The first one was Yell because it was the first one, the first client I worked for at Weil, may they rest in peace, they, we used to have phone books, yellow pages, they produced these phone books guys, and they were a publicly listed company. I worked on high yield financing when there’d been private equity investment in them. I then worked on their IPO, which it took us two attempts to get to market and have a successful deal. So we essentially did the entire IPO twice when that happened at the time, it was the largest IPO in European history. And I helped, you know, do a block trade with, with an exit for, I worked for the Apax and Hicks Muse on those, the private equity houses.
Daniel Winterfeldt (15:14):
And it really was a deal that saw me go from being a junior associate to a mid-level, to senior associate and really helped to grow my knowledge of the other deal. I would say there are two transactions for Telefonica Deutschland and working with Telefonica, it’s really been a privilege. I speak fluent Spanish, so I’m able to work and get on well with their headquarters in Madrid and working with the German division, doing first doing their IPO, and then doing a follow on offering when they did a large acquisition of E plus those deals were in the billions of euros. They were really challenging. We had to provide a 10b-5 opinion. I worked across the table from some top investment banks and I worked with an amazing team of people, both at my law firm and opposing counsel and at the investment banks and at Telefonica themselves. So those are two deals that have been, three deals that have been really seminal in my career.
Rob Hanna (16:07):
Yeah, and listen they truly truly are outstanding. And very sort of aspirational for a lot of people who would want to be sort of following in your shoes. And that brings us on recently, as I mentioned at the introduction that you have been recognized as an honorary Queen’s Counsel which is truly amazing. So, you know, again, for people who may have similar aspirations, how did you do it?
Daniel Winterfeldt (16:28):
Well, first of all, Robert I’m blushing. You can’t see cause this is audio –
Rob Hanna (16:31):
Daniel Winterfeldt (16:31):
But but you know, I think you know, really the answer to me about any awards or recognition you can’t be setting out to get them. I think you really have to just work hard and focus on your craft. As I kind of said earlier, you can’t just focus on a destination. And to me, you know, a destination is successfully completing a transaction, making your client happy, you know producing great results for your firm, enhancing their pocket books and or the reputation. You know, these are all things that are kind of road stops on the journey. And I think awards and recognition are part of that as well, but you can’t really set out to get those things. I think you have to set out to manage your career, work very hard, be really successful. And then I find that when you do that, people will come forward and recognize you both internally and externally, and that recognition follows. So I think excellence is the most important thing. And you know, my advocacy work that I started doing with the natural diversity forum, I didn’t start doing until I became a partner for the first time in 2008. So the first 10 years of my career were really just grinding and working incredibly, incredibly hard and, you know, working on my craft, I don’t want to say even perfecting because you know, US securities and capital markets, it’s a very complex area. I’m constantly still learning even at my level. So that’s the other great thing I think about the legal profession is that you always have the opportunity to continue to learn, to learn you know, new things as the law changes and evolves and also expanding out your commercial knowledge and other areas. So I think the awards and the rewards come with that hard work and that dedication and, you know, I think the other thing that’s really important to highlight alongside that is a lot of people focus on awards or rewards, especially in this social media culture, where, where, you know, we kind of tend to show the best parts of our life and the highlights, but you know, what you don’t see is, you know, all the failures and all the challenges that successful people face and it’s everybody faces them.
Daniel Winterfeldt (18:33):
And I think what makes you successful is that you continue to take them on and you continue to overcome them. So every single day you get a series of successes and failures. And I think it’s how you deal with those failures defines you. But also I think how you deal with those successes do as well. It’s really important to remain humble, to respect all people. You know, I had an amazing mentor. My first legal internship during law school was at Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals. I worked with a really amazing man named Bert Hunter who was head of international law. I was supposed to just do a summer, but then he hired me two days a week during the third year of law school. And Bert used to take me on walks and mentor me and train me. And you know, one of the things that Bert taught with me, well, he taught me many amazing things. He’s certainly, you know, helped laid the foundation of my career, but one of the first things that he taught me that always is in the front of my mind is you treat every single person with respect that you work with from the secretary when you walk in the door, and the janitor mopping the floor up to the CEO of the company, you treat every single person exactly the same. You must be consistent. You must be respectful to everyone. Hierarchy is important and hierarchy matters, but when it comes to respect, everyone deserves exactly the same dignity and respect for the work that they do. And I do think that is something that is of less and a lot of people are pulling away from this COVID-19 crisis that we’re currently in is that all workers and what everyone contributes is valuable. And, you know, without any piece or any cog in the machine, the machine doesn’t work whether it’s the largest less expensive piece or the smallest tiniest piece it’s all critical.
Rob Hanna (20:13):
No and really well said Daniel. I think there’s some really sage advice in there as well. And we’ve touched on it and we are gonna move on to it now briefly, because I don’t know how you fit it all in, but you, that’s just your, your sort of legal work that you do so much work in the diversity and inclusion space. You have worked with our very own Lenie Ibanez who’s our Head of diversity inclusion and unspoken and giving lots of motivational talks, but you founded as you mentioned in 2008, you know, Interlaw Diversity Forum, which does such great, meaningful, impactful work. But for those of those people, that’s new to it. Can you tell us more about it and why you decided to set it all up?
Daniel Winterfeldt (20:50):
Great. So the Interlaw Diversity Forum is an inter organizational network that I set up in 2008. I mentioned when I first became a partner prior to that, I’d set up the Forum for US Securities Lawyers in London. And that was an inter organizational body to look at the practice of, and the application of us securities law in the London and international capital markets. So I started bringing together people cause I was finding issues within the law around us securities, where there wasn’t clear guidance or there was unclear or unsettled market practice. And we were looking for solutions by bringing together legal practitioners, bankers, London stock exchange, and intermediaries. So in 2008, when I became a partner and I wanted to focus on diversity and inclusion, I said, wait a minute, this is a sector wide issue. This isn’t just an issue for my firm or any firm in particular. This is an issue across the board. And at that time we started with LGBT plus diversity and inclusion.
Daniel Winterfeldt (21:46):
And so I thought, well, I have the framework on how to do this. I can copy what I do in the U S forum and use that same blueprint around diversity and inclusion and LGBT plus, we started in February, 2008. I had the head of Stonewall speak. And I had a very senior managing director, Tim Hales from JP Morgan, who at the time was very visible. And it was the first time I’d seen anyone speak out in the legal sector openly about LGBT+ issues. There was a headline in the lawyer that said JP Morgan tells law firms to shape up on gay issues. I was very much inspired by that and they were a large client of mine at the time. And I’ve continued to do a large amount of work with them throughout my career. They’re a great organization and they push those values.
Daniel Winterfeldt (22:33):
So I thought, what can I do? We grew as an LGBT organization very fast and very quickly, I started getting involved in doing research, working with the law society, working with the judicial appointments commission, the bar council. We just, as I kind of said earlier, as you work hard and as you do good work, people bring opportunities to you or opportunities pop up. And, you know, I couldn’t have predicted the path of inter law and now we’re here, you know, 12 years later and we’ve grown to 6,500 members and supporters from over 300 law firms and chambers and over 500 corporates and financial institutions. So we have expanded our work from beyond just LGBT plus to also having a race, ethnicity or BAME network. And we also have a disability network. We did a gender initiative with the law society, which we’ll be turning later this year into another network.
Daniel Winterfeldt (23:25):
We all are doing work around social mobility and have a huge focus on intersectionality. So we’re very, very interested not just in doing this strand specific work around D&I, but looking at the fact that individuals are complex. So I’ve talked a bit about my background, but I’m an ethnic minority in that I’m Jewish. I’m also, you know, LGBT plus as an openly gay man, which I’ve been my whole career. I also have worked with anxiety and depression, so I have a disability as well and ADHD. So these are all things that make you who you are. So we like to focus a lot on inclusion and culture cause we really want to focus on changing the profession so that every single person in a building feels valued, feels like they can bring themselves to work and are fully engaged and giving their best towards the company. So that is something that our kind of our vision and our work is to just transform the legal sector, level the playing field for people who are diverse and make sure that our work, you know, enables everyone who’s talented to have that equal opportunity to succeed.
Rob Hanna (24:27):
No absolutely. And, and I must say the word that you do is, is, is truly amazing. And I’ve been at some of the events that you’ve been at recently and it is truly inspiring. And what you’re trying to do in terms of, you know, the landscape. I guess, if people want to sort of know more or sort of how can they get in touch or, or get involved?
Daniel Winterfeldt (24:44):
Great well, you know, first of all, thanks again for, for saying about our work. We work really, really hard. It’s not just me running the entire diversity forum. We have a great leadership team and a great number of people who work with me and support our work, both as patrons, as co-leads on our networks, as co-leads on projects, people are interested in finding out more about the Interlaw Diversity Forum. If you go to interlawdiversityforum.org, there is a button at the top of the screen for upcoming events, there’s information at the bottom of the page on how to sign up to our mailing lists. You can tick the boxes of the areas that you’re interested in and you will receive tailored updates and invitations to our events, our publications, et cetera. So that’s the best way to get in touch with us. And we’re on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram as well. So you can look us up on those and, and, you know, follow us or whatever it is, follow us, join us, lead us like us, whatever it is we’re, we’re there, we’re available. And, you know, it’s free and open to everyone from law students to business services. It’s everyone within the legal sector. And we also have journalists, we have recruiters, we really have a kind of open ethos, as I said, it’s kind of a theme of my career. So everyone is welcome who’s interested.
Rob Hanna (26:02):
No, absolutely. And as I said, I would urge people to strongly check that out because I think there’s some, some really meaningful work that you’re getting involved with and really promoting there. I think you mentioned sort of social media and we know he’s got to have a bit of fun with the legal professional legal world as well Daniel, and a little birdie tells me you’re quite active on social media and is it true you’re quite the Madonna fan?
Daniel Winterfeldt (26:25):
[Laughter] That is yes, I can confirm and not deny that.
Rob Hanna (26:32):
[Laughter] Good stuff, good stuff.
Daniel Winterfeldt (26:33):
A hundred percent true!
Rob Hanna (26:35):
Good stuff. And interesting facts. Tell us an interesting fact about you that we may not already know.
Daniel Winterfeldt (26:40):
I am the proud parent of two chocolate Brown Dachshunds.
Rob Hanna (26:46):
Daniel Winterfeldt (26:46):
Dida and Maxwell, they are 13 and 11 and a half and they are currently napping next to me in their bed. So this is the problem with this lockdown period. Some of your co-workers just spend the day sleeping.
Rob Hanna (26:57):
You can’t get the staff!
Daniel Winterfeldt (26:59):
Can’t get good help.
Rob Hanna (27:01):
Daniel Winterfeldt (27:01):
Even if you’re an honorary QC!
Rob Hanna (27:03):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I think a lot of people will be interested to know Daniel, you’re at a global law firm or a partner you’re very, very held in high regard, you know, has, you know, in terms of your legal practice, how has COVID-19 affected you in terms of your day to day and, you know, generally, has it really hit you? Still the same or better or worse give a flavor of that?
Daniel Winterfeldt (27:28):
Well, look, I mean, you know, working at Reed Smith and being a partner at such a global international firm you know, we are very lucky and that, you know work is always cyclical. There’s upturns, there’s downturns when you’re at a global firm, that’s full service, you’re able to, you know, that firm is able to weather storms in that, you know, some areas get less busy, some areas get more busy. The challenges, you know, ensuring in this climate, everyone’s able to work remotely, that we’re able to deploy our resources in a smart, intelligent way and also support our, all the members of our teams, both the lawyers and business services recognizing that at the same time, there are enormous unprecedented challenges for people, whether it’s around parent and caring responsibilities with, with children or elderly or disabled family members, whether you are having to balance, you know, helping teach your children with, with, you know, work work, and, you know, obviously also balancing those mental health issues and people’s personal wellbeing and even just managing anxiety and stress. So it’s, it’s definitely a challenge, but our firm is, you know, is doing well, but we’re mindful that we need to be smart about how we operate from an individual level for my practice. I mean, when it comes to our work, we really always work remotely. I mean, unless we’re doing drafting sessions on really large capital markets transactions that have 10-b five disclosure letters, which people can Google, if they want to look up for fun on U S deals where we do require in-person drafting. But even sometimes those have switched with some people dialing in from video. We rarely have in person meetings. So even kickoffs these days are done on phone calls or video calls. So the day to day work is often remote and that isn’t such a big transition because we’re all used to working, you know, a day from home or being able to have that flexible working where we may, if we have to leave early, we come home at night and plug in. We’re used to that kind of being able to work from anywhere, anytime and from home. But I do think what’s challenging is maintaining relationships.
Daniel Winterfeldt (29:26):
As I said, a big part of my career, both in my day job as a capital markets lawyer, but also around my diversity and inclusion work, you know, in person meetings and seeing people and relationships are really, really important as well as events. So I’ve been really fortunate and that I, you know, I do have close networks, so I’ve been able to video conference with clients that I’m close to and with friends and also supporters within the D&I work, I’ve continued to do those meetings that I would do just by, you know, doing zoom calls and video conferencing and making myself available. So, you know, even in the past week, you know, I’ve been on the phone, you know, working with huge corporations and with law firms, you know, whether I’m dialing into their D&I committee meetings, you know, planning events, looking at doing some things in pride. So there’s a lot of things you can do in this new space. It did take us a little bit of time within Interlaw to kind of reboot and go into the digital world. But our online events are even having higher attendance rates now, or the same as our, as our in-person ones. So we’ve, we’ve, we’ve done a great job at just transitioning. And as I said, we have a great team of people who are behind the scenes working to make that happen. And we’ve done an extra little series called the lockdown lift up where we’re doing weekly sessions on everything from, you know, balancing parenting and work, you know virtual networking, how to manage productivity, overcoming obstacles within, you know, the lockdown and every week, those are just growing and growing in numbers and interest. So you know, I think it’s kind of an honor and a privilege to get to do that and to help people I know that expression is a bit overdone, but I do, you know, feel like I’ve not only been able to adjust and continue the work that I do, but a big driver for that work is supporting and helping my clients and supporting and helping people within the legal sector around their careers, in their jobs. And I think that’s needed now more than ever.
Rob Hanna (31:16):
Absolutely and really well said. And just as a final giveaway, you know, for sort of wrapping up, you know, what do you do for downtime when you get a spare moment? You know, you do so much, but you know, what do you do when you get a bit of downtime?
Daniel Winterfeldt (31:26):
Well, you mentioned earlier, you may find me on a train or on a plane when Madonna’s on tour to check out the concert. I went to Paris to see her. One of her last shows of her tour. I was in the very front row center right in front of her, the whole show. And I got sick a week later, and she’s now subsequently admitted that she had COVID-19 while on tour. And she was definitely not just in pain, but she was definitely physically quite ill that night. And there were moments where she was crying on stage and couldn’t remember lyrics. She was definitely on top of the fact that she had ongoing issues around her back and her hips and knees, she was also having. She also was I think probably sick. The most important thing for me is exercising. So I take, I try and do, you know, 10,000 steps a day, and I try and, you know, do exercise three to four times a week. And it’s just really critical. And I think the beginning of this period was challenging when all the gyms suddenly closed. And now I go down to st. James’s park and I’m so lucky to live near there and able to go running. So even though you get a little bit of cabin fever being locked away in your apartment, I’m able to go down there and, you know, there’s a hundred plus types of birds and I get to dodge geese and all kinds of ducks and pigeons as I run through the park, but it really is a complete escape with gorgeous flowers and the Lake, and, you know, seeing parliament and, you know, watching the policemen, mounted policemen on horses. It, just, I go there and I feel like I’ve been on vacation. So I would encourage everyone to, you know, make sure they incorporate exercise and also that, that kind of solitude to unplug and make sure you do that, you know, at least three to four times a week.
Rob Hanna (33:06):
Yeah, no really well said, Daniel, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the the Legally Speaking Podcast. I think there’s lots of great insights you shared that definitely people should check out Interlaw as you say, Diversity Forum. And I think all the work you’re doing there is, is fantastic, but I’m sure our listeners found that, you know, truly inspiring and informative as much as I did. So a really big thank you. And I’m sure we’ll see featured again in the, not too distant future.
Daniel Winterfeldt (33:29):
Great. Thank you so much, Robert again for having me. It’s been great speaking and have a great day. Thank you again for having me.
Rob Hanna (33:35):