Stephen M. Ross and Martin Edelman reflect on law, business, and football

At a Latham & Watkins Forum held at the Law School on November 15, Dean Trevor Morrison sat down with Stephen M. Ross LLM ’66 and Martin Edelman for a lively discussion about their storied careers and philanthropic pursuits.

Ross is the chairman of the Related Companies, which he founded in 1977 and built into a company with more than $50 billion in assets and staffed with more than 3,000 professionals. He is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins and is the recipient of numerous honors for his philanthropic work.

Martin Edelman, Ross’s longtime friend and adviser, is senior of counsel in the real estate practice of Paul Hastings and has more than 30 years of experience in real estate and corporate mergers and acquisitions transactions. A former attorney for Jackie Robinson, he is one of the founders of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Select remarks:

Stephen Ross: “When I look back at it, I can say my time receiving my LLM and the training I learned from that has probably been the best part of my education. I really think it’s a great entrée to business…Most people, when you say you’re a tax lawyer, they think you’re filling out forms for the IRS. But I look at it as probably the most creative aspect of law because you’re given a set of facts and you’re saying, ‘How do you really reduce or eliminate the tax consequences from those facts?’… It forces you to be creative and solve problems, and really that’s what life is about to me.”

Stephen Ross: “I love challenges. I started my business and I built up my business. I think we’re the largest developer in the United States, and we’re best in class…. [A]nd so I thought applying my business knowledge and my thought process and creating things, that there would be nothing more challenging than to win the Super Bowl. It’s a lot harder to put together a winning football team than it is to create the best kind of organization in a specific business. We’re still playing—we’re not winning—but we’re trying.”

Martin Edelman: “I was always uncomfortable in law school. The topics were too hard, the other people were too smart. And I saw a bumper sticker, which shows you, forget philosophy, look at bumper stickers…. [I]t said: ‘Seek Discomfort.’ And I think the willingness to enter the zone of discomfort, to move away from the things you know about and feel totally capable of doing is the trait that you can take away from law school.” 

Watch the full video of the event (54 minutes):

Posted November 30, 2017