WELL-SUITED TO WRITING
I just read Myron Moskovitz's story ["Ill-Suited to Retail," October] and really enjoyed it, especially the beginning. It reminded me of the music store that my father owned and I grew up in. Just like the author, we had to immediately approach customers when they came in. If they were interested in anything, we had to make them an offer before they left?especially if it was the first sale of the day.
Judge Daniel S. Pratt
I am recuperating from a broken wrist and just had the opportunity to pick up the October issue of California Lawyer from my office. Thanks so much forÂ the fascinating memoir. I truly forgot my aches and pains as I read this captivating account of life and labor in 1950s San Francisco.
Myron Moskovitz's article brought back many fond memories. In the early '70s, during college and the first part of law school, I worked part time at a privately owned men's clothing store in Alhambra.Â The setup was very much like "The Store" in your article. The suits and other clothing were displayed on the ground floor, the extra stock was in the basement, and upstairs was the office and tailor shop, where Louie and two helpers worked tirelessly to alter the clothing we sold to the customers downstairs. Even though I was very young at the time, I learned a lot working there, not least of which is how a gentleman should dress. I also learned much about the art of salesmanship and persuasion. The description of Mr. Davis talking himself into the jacket with the "subdued checks" was right on. I remember many customers who bought clothing that did not particularly flatter them because they fell in love with the look. Indeed, the owner encouraged us to get the customers to try on the clothing items as soon as possible because he knew that, more often than not, the customers would talk themselves into the purchase. He also told me to never, ever turn a customer away when they are ready to buy?a lesson I have not forgotten.
Ironically, the same man was directly responsible for my first legal job. I was still working weekends at the store during my second year in law school but trying desperately to find employment as a summer law clerk. One Saturday he asked me how my job hunt was going. I told him it was very difficult for a second-year law student to get a clerk's position. He said, "Oh hell, I know plenty of lawyers, follow me." He took me upstairs to his office and started looking through his customer records. The first person he called was a senior partner in a downtown Los Angeles law firm who had been a customer for many years. He told him he had a young man in his employ whom he thought a lot of and who was going to law school. He told the partner he was giving him a first opportunity to interview me, but he had plenty of other attorneys that he could call. Long story stort, the partner interviewed me the very next day and I got a summer and part-time job with his firm as a law clerk. At the end of my third year in law school the firm offered me a full-time job. Like I said, that guy was quite a salesman. Thanks again for your well-written article.
Wesley G. Beverlin
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed "Ill-Suited to Retail." I grew up in Palo Alto in the 1960s, so the author's descriptions of San Francisco "back in the day" were very nostalgic for me. I was also quite touched by the factors leading up to his decision to go to law school.
I have been a legal recruiter since 1989, and as you can imagine, many of the attorneys I speak to are unhappy. This article is a wonderful reminder that law is a profession that opens many doors and allows people to forge their own path.
Myron Moskovitz certainly gave us a nice family story with pathos and humor. However, it seems he was also trying to make a point about the relative ethics between different ways to earn a living.Â In that regard, I do not feel that Moskovitz would challenge me on my belief that there are at least a handful of children of lawyers (or, for that matter, lawyers themselves) out there who could write a similar story, where someone gave up the practice of law for the same reasons he gave up his particular retail job?i.e., it stinks.
Myron, buddy, life is messy.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, our story on the Brocade verdict ["Guilty!" December] omitted the full name and title of San Francisco?based Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam A. Reeves. California Lawyer regrets the error.
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