DAVID S. SMITH

, 91

Attorney
Law Offices of Smith & Smith

Why not retire?

I'm not good at doing nothing and enjoy the practice of law.

Do you think you ever will retire?

That's not on my mind now. People still respect me and want to trust me with their legal matters. And I don't want to vegetate at home.

How does your spouse feel about that?

Happy to get rid of me! She's a travel consultant who has raised three kids and then started working again, and wanted to stay occupied, too. She understands I love to work.

What's the best aspect of working past 80?

Keeping busy, keeping my mind active and meeting with clients who want to pick my brain.

What's the worst aspect?

There isn't any worst aspect. I'm not working for a living; I'm working because I enjoy my work. I'm an industrious person. I'd die if I did nothing.

How do you keep up to date with industry trends and learn those "new tricks" they say old dogs can't?

I read the Los Angeles Daily Journal, which has important news items about proceedings locally. I look at every one of those decisions. I also read national legal journals to make sure I know what I should, and to make note of important cases.

What do you hope is your next big accomplishment?

To continue to enjoy life.

What's your physical fitness regime?

I work out five days a week at a nearby gym. I do light weights.

What advice would you give to people who wanted to follow in your footsteps?

Think carefully about the practice of law before you get into it because too many don't like it. It's an adversarial occupation. You have to negotiate with people that sometimes are not bright or downright nasty. Also, many judges that have been appointed, both on the state and federal level, are politically connected but not that well versed in law. That can be frustrating.

Do you work more or fewer hours than you did in your 30s or 40s?

Much less. But I work about six hours every weekday, and now my son is my boss and is the hard worker. I don't have the zest and vitality I used to have. I used to love engaging in battles in court, but have mellowed. I work, but not as hard. At 91, I don't think I should. My three kids and wife agree.

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