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that recognizes that legal services, like medical
services, are something that people should not be
entirely priced out of.
Olson: I think one of the biggest problems is
government regulatory activities that make it so hard
for people to start a business, to file a tax return, to
run for office. We’re strangling in regulations.
Q: It almost sounds like you have different
opinions here: get government more involved,
get government less involved.
Olson: They’re complementary.
Boies: When I started Boies, Schiller & Flexner,
I was astonished at the number of regulations
that we violated in the first nine months that
none of us knew about. There were so many
different regulations, and the regulations varied by
jurisdiction. We ended up with a lot of small offices
in the beginning, because we basically opened
an office wherever we had a lawyer we wanted.
The result was that we had a series of sometimes
nice and sometimes less-nice notices from various
government agencies that we’d missed a filing
deadline that we didn’t know existed.
Over time, we have solved that problem the
way I suppose everybody solves that problem,
which is by hiring experts who know [these
regulations] and spend their days filling out these
forms. But if you think how hard it was to start a
new law practice, even with experienced people,
now think about a person who wants to start a
small business, who wants to open a restaurant,
who wants to open a machine shop.
The problem is, so often in the press it’s posited
as: Are you for government regulation or against
government regulation? That’s not the issue.
There are good government regulations and then
there are bad, stifling government regulations.
Every sensible person is both in favor of
government regulation and against government
regulation. It depends on the regulation.
Q: You both have children. What is the one
thing you hope you’ve taught them?
Boies: I would say patience. Respect for others,
respect for yourself.
Olson: I have two children and now three
Take that opportunity. For God’s sake, do it now.
granddaughters. If I said one thing, it is that if
you apply yourself and work hard, take education
seriously, it gives you options. If you don’t do that,
your choices are foreclosed for you. You want
to take as many opportunities as you can in life
to do what you want to do. You can open lots of
doors by being a good student, learning when
you have an opportunity for an education at the
expense of your parents or your grandfather.
There’s lots of times to be on the playground or
at dances; but for God’s sake, get an education so
your freedom will be maximized.
Q: You’re both good debaters: Who do you lose
Boies: [Points to Olson] I lose arguments with him.
I tried an antitrust case in Galveston, Texas.
I had on my side Joe Jamail, who is a pretty fair
lawyer. I thought I was a pretty fair lawyer. It took
the jury about three and a half hours to come back
against us. Sometimes you just don’t connect.
Sometimes the other side just has a better case.
This interview was condensed and edited.
Standing (L to R): Adam C. Silverstein, Scott L. Hazan,
Jeffrey M. Rosenthal, Richard G. Haddad,
James M. Cretella*, Michael Barocas
Seated (L to R): Melanie L. Cyganowski†,
David W. Morse, Daniel Wallen, Richard L. Stehl,
Jonathan N. Helfat, Valerie S. Mason
*Selected to 2014 New York Rising Stars
†Top 50 Women
our attorneys selected
to New York
Super Lawyers 2014.
Good Thinking. Practical Solutions.
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