"When Gerry speaks, he reaches parts of your mind that you have never used before." Sue Stapely, Barrister and Solicitor, London
"I don't know Sue Stapely, but she is a master of understatement." Patrick Lamb, Attorney, Chicago
My partner Jim Rubin is a brilliant lawyer. He that rare combination of extraordinary intelligence and killer instincts, and he has used these traits, plus a willingness to outwork his opponent to build a world-class practice representing insurance and reinsurance companies in reinsurance disputes. Chambers found him to be one of the very best reinsurance litigators in the country. Jim Rubin does not suffer fools lightly, and he give compliments like he was tossing around man-hole covers. I write this, not to promote my partner (he most certainly does not need my help in that regard) but to create context for his evaluation of the retreat Gerry Riskin led yesterday for our firm. At the end, and in front of all our lawyers, Jim said "Gerry, I can't thank you enough. In the 15 years we have been doing these retreats, this was far and away the best we have ever had."
Gerry hit the ball out of the park. He drove the ball 380 yards down the middle of the fairway. He beat Kobe one on one. Pick whatever metaphor you will, Gerry was at the top of his game and he wow'd us. Its not just his content, which is exceptional. To me, two things made Gerry extraordinary. First, Gerry's level of preparation was intense. He had spoken to a number of my partners in great depth before Saturday, so he had his fingers on our pulse, our practice, our concerns. And his material was tailored to us like a fine, custom-made suit.
The other thing that made Gerry's presentation so exceptional was his manner of presentation. He presents his points in small steps that make it easy for you to walk with him, and before you realize it, you've arrived comfortably at precisely the destination Gerry planned for you to be, and you marvel at how comfortable the trip turned out to be. If he had simply announced that people needed to be at a certain place, few would have made the complete trip and it would have been nowhere near as engaging a journey.
For us, the issue we focused on were marketing, both the whys and the hows. But I can't imagine a topic on which Gerry would not excel.
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Gerry and at the Marketing Partner Forum and even more time yesterday after our retreat. A great retreat leader, teacher, etc., he is even a better person. Just an outstanding guy with a great sense of humor. As Humphrey Bogart said to Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca, "I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship." It will be my great fortune if it is so.