Add a bookmark to get started

15 May 20232 minute read

Why I Lawyer: Q&A with James Berger

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

I have always been interested in government, and specifically in the interaction between private and state actors. Lawyers are the bridges between public institutions and the private sector and individuals – a role that has always appealed to me.

How has being a lawyer helped you in other areas of your life?

Being a lawyer requires preparation, diligence, pragmatism and an ability to find and reach compromises. Needless to say, these skills apply in all areas of life, and I have no doubt that the skills I have gained and the lessons I have learned as a lawyer have helped me grow as a person.

What is an important lesson you learned from a mentor that you’ve relied on throughout your career?

One of my mentors taught me the importance, as a litigator, of knowing the difference between winning a case and helping your client solve the problem that gave rise to that case. Those things aren’t always the same, and adopting this vision has helped me become a more strategic thinker overall. 

What part of your practice do you consider to be the most innovative and what areas are you most passionate about?

The Global Enforcement and Asset Recovery practice is all about being innovative, and that is one of the things I love about it. Many of the cases we handle present novel questions of law, where we have the opportunity to not only to help our clients, but to make law. And we’ve done that on several occasions.

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

The first appeal I ever argued, in which I asked a US Court of Appeals to overrule one of its constitutional precedents. I prevailed in that case, and we rely on that decision in our practice every day.