The Business Journal salutes seven octogenarians and one nonagenarian for whom age is just a number.
GERALD PHILLIPS, 84
Mediator/Arbitrator of Counsel - Phillips Lerner Lauzon Jamra LLP
Why not retire?
I am enjoying what I do. I cannot play golf or tennis, nor would I rather do so. It keeps me alive. I would not last long if I did not go to the office every day. I do not practice law any more, but have a new career as a mediator and arbitrator. I am also an adjunct professor at law at Pepperdine’s Straus Institute, a lecturer and an author of articles about the ethical practice of the law.
Do you think that you will ever retire?
Not unless I am not physically able to be productive.
How does your spouse feel about that?
She agrees. She would not want me to stay at home.
What’s the best aspect of working past 80?
I find life is more interesting.
What’s the worst?
Not being able to pay attention to my wife. Because I spend so many hours at the office, my wife has said that she has made a life for herself when I am not at home, playing bridge, attending classes on acting and current events, and being a travel consultant.
How do you keep up to date with industry trends and learn those “new tricks” they say old dogs can’t?
I attend lectures, read current industry papers, lecture and write papers, and do the necessary research.
What’s your career goal?
Make the practice of the law once again a “noble practice.” Make more attorneys recognize the importance of being ethical. Our democracy is based on the respect that the public has for lawyers.
What advice would you give to people who want to follow in your footsteps?
Find work that is really not work, that you enjoy as much as almost anything you can do.
Best advice you ever got?
Don’t go to bed angry.
What’s the secret of your vitality?
Enjoying what I do more than anything else that I can think of.
Do you work more or fewer hours than you did in your 30s and 40s?
I work more now than when I was younger. I had children that I wanted to grow into citizens that I would be proud of. My children needed me. I was not as dedicated to my profession as I am today and not driven to make the profession better.
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