When most aspiring attorneys think about being an attorney for a sports team or amusement park, they think of contract negotiations and licensing. However, Georgia State Law alumnus Bill Grob has carved a space all his own, supporting large entities such as these in the area of human resources law. Grob earned his law degree from Georgia State after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in public administration. Today, he is a shareholder with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C in Tampa where he also co-chairs the firm’s Sports and Entertainment Practice Group. And, in addition to work, Grob gives back by serving on the College of Law Board of Visitors where he encourages prospective students to continue their education at Georgia State. Here, he reflects on his time in law school and the importance of giving back.
What experience did you get at Georgia State Law that you don’t think you would’ve gotten at another law school?
I’ll admit, at the time I wanted to go to a law school that was higher ranked and I was concerned that going to Georgia State University would affect my employability. I was flat wrong. The fact that I went to this law school in downtown Atlanta led to so many opportunities to work in the Georgia Courts, different firms, and other agencies presented opportunities that I don’t believe I would have gotten at other law schools. I feel like I had more chances to get internships or externships than folks who went to law schools outside of a major city, specifically one like Atlanta.
What was your favorite class?
I had the great fortune to go on a study abroad trip for International Comparative Dispute Resolution in Austria. One of the most exciting opportunities we had on that trip was to visit some of the international courts of arbitration. We also had a chance to visit courts in Prague and Budapest and discuss how things worked with American companies that had operations abroad. I still practice with Tony Martin, one of my classmates who went on that trip, and he manages the Las Vegas office of our firm.
What was your first job out of law school and what is the most important thing you learned on that job?
I worked for a boutique labor and employment firm in Tampa. The most important thing I learned is how to be adaptable.
What advice would you give to current law students about making the most of law school?
The most important advice I can give anyone is to know the needs of your clients. Most lawyers, we bill our lives in six-minute increments. Once you graduate from law school, you start working for a firm and you have the pressure of billing 1,900 hours in a year. However, clients will choose to stay with you or leave you based in part on how you bill them. If you have a 30-minute phone call with a client and you spend 20 minutes of that time talking about your families, if they later see a bill for the full 30 minutes, they may not call you again. You have to be aware of how your counsel and billing looks to them. How does that impact their organization?
What made you decide to give back to Georgia State Law by joining the Board of Visitors?
I have always been grateful to GSU as someone who went to law school a little bit later in life. I tutored with the athletic department my first year of law school and the next year they brought me on as a GRA and paid all of my books and tuition for the remainder of law school. That was an incredible opportunity, so when I was asked to be on the board of visitors as someone who lives out of state, I was enthusiastic and said yes. My favorite thing is being able to interact with students about the incredible opportunities that Georgia State has to offer.
I also want people to know that the degree opens up other opportunities. You don’t have to be a lawyer, you can be a CEO, a business leader, an entrepreneur or start a nonprofit. It’s a wonderful building block for anything you want to do.
Interview by Kelundra Smith