The most recent installation of the Chapman Dialogue Lecture Series welcomed PIMCO Managing Director and Global Counsel David Flattum to the Fowler School of Law on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Based in Newport Beach, PIMCO is one of the world’s premier fixed-income investment managers.
“We were pleased to welcome David, particularly to speak to our students,” Fowler School of Law Dean Matt Parlow said. “The practical techniques and lawyering skills he shared are invaluable to aspiring attorneys, as they start out in their own legal careers.”
During his presentation, Flattum discussed his path from first-year associate to Latham & Watkins partner, providing practical advice and professional insights to the law students in attendance. He stressed the importance of seeking out learning opportunities. “My perspective [as an associate] was that I wanted to learn as much as I could, and I wanted to learn as fast as I could. I really encourage you to follow whatever your passion is, but also keep an open mind.” On working with clients, he stressed the importance of collaboration, communication, and the ability to adapt one’s own style to fit the clients’ needs. He also talked about the need to recognize and cure areas of miscommunication. This philosophy has become a cornerstone in his strength as a negotiator. “If you bring people together, and over-communicate, you can get stuff done,” he said.
When discussing his transition to in-house counsel, Flattum stressed the importance of maintaining personal and professional growth in a career. He also described the unique concerns he faces as chief legal officer of various PIMCO funds. The global company remains one of the largest in its field, trading billions of dollars daily for a wide range of institutions including corporations, banks, universities, foundations, and private pensions.
Prior to joining PIMCO in 2006, Flattum served as managing director, U.S. general counsel, and chief operating officer of Allianz Asset Management of America. As a partner with the Orange County office of Latham & Watkins, he focused on mergers and acquisitions.
During the question and answer portion of the event, Flattum discussed the great recession’s impact on his work as general counsel of an investment firm and the impact of evolving technology on the industry. In closing, he encouraged students to use the years following law school to pursue different types of work to gain diverse experiences. “It is a moment where you have a great deal of energy and you can do so much good,” he said. ”Invest big in yourself by finding opportunities for experience, even if they’re not perfect.”