Attorney David Oberg lives a full life. Being a retired reserve police officer and his love of fast German sports cars are only a couple stories that make up this transactional attorney.
David Oberg of Oberg Law Group is in a unique position as a business transactional and bankruptcy attorney. As a business owner of a variety of businesses, he knows what it’s like to operate major corporations as well as his boutique law firm. He has great love for his family and his constant companion Sophie (a rescue pup). David has owned many Porsches and has a fondness for woodworking. Being an attorney and a retired Culver City police officer gives him a unique perspective on the law. And that drives him to give back to his community.
Listen to David’s story here.
Click here for transcript
Unknown Speaker 0:00
From Los Angeles, this is the Echelon Radio Network.
Brian Hemsworth 0:14
Hi, we are back with the Echelon Radio Podcast, and today I have Attorney David Oberg with us. Thanks for coming in, David.
David Oberg 0:23
Thanks for having me.
Brian Hemsworth 0:25
Glad you made it. Let’s talk a little bit about you and your practice, before we get into maybe a couple of the fun things that we have to talk about today, before we finish. So let’s hear a little bit about your background. As an attorney, I know you had some big law firm experience, but then you kind of went out on your own and you’ve really sort of made an art out of out of your practice. I think you’re one of the few people who I know has said very proudly that he answers his own phone. So tell me a little bit about how you got into law, where you’ve been and your practice now.
David Oberg 1:05
Well, I did my undergraduate work in business, anticipating that I would do some sort of business related law. And my practice today is that it’s a business transactional practice for probably 50, 60% of it. And we do a lot of entity formation, corporate compliance, corporate governance, some mergers and acquisition work. Anything other than really litigation. We try to shy away from that. The other half of the practice is pure bankruptcy and insolvency. So it’s those two practice groups. I started my career at an insolvency boutique over in Century City. And after just a few years, there was a group of us that broke off and we merged with a very large national firm, McDermott, Will and Emery and I became a partner over at McDermott Will and Emery and it was a great experience, it was nice being part of a large group, 1000 lawyers, when I left there in 1995, to 220 partners It was big shop.
Brian Hemsworth 2:11
That’s a big firm.
David Oberg 2:12
And I went out on my own in 1995. And I had been out on my own ever since. And it’s nice, and I do joke about that. I really take care of everything in my practice. I answer my own phones, I do my own filing.
Brian Hemsworth 2:29
So I assume that you probably have, and maybe I’m wrong in this assumption, but I’m guessing you have a fair amount of sort of owner entrepreneur types that, that their business is growing, they need an attorney and you’re kind of a right fit, you’re not a big giant firm, you’re not intimidating in that way. You do answer your phone, you will pick up a phone and talk to a client for a while. I’m guessing that’s a lot of what your work is.
David Oberg 2:56
It is very much so. We are very much entrepreneurs. I am a business owner, I have an ownership stake, as you know, in a couple of other businesses, because you’ve actually helped me with the logo and branding. And so I can relate to speaking with a business owner about how the business operates, not from a theoretical perspective as a lawyer, but rather from a person who understands: What is it like to make payroll? What do the financials really got to look like in order to get the job done? I.e. get the loan with the bank. And so I understand that. And I think that the clients really appreciate it because they don’t want to hear the theoretical they want what’s the practical? How do I get from point A to point B in as few steps as possible?
Brian Hemsworth 3:46
You know, I think that that’s really one of the most important things that we see with small to midsize business owners is it’s almost like a club that we’re all in. Once you had to make payroll once you’ve had to hire and fire people, and you’ve really sort of been on those front lines. I think it’s one of those things that a trusted adviser that has that experience brings a little something extra to it, not just the theoretical but the but the real life on that.
David Oberg 4:13
Yeah, clients, in my experience, want to understand the shortest path to get their problem solved. They don’t want to know you know how to make the clock. They want to know what time it is. And we are able to provide that. The nice thing about my background is I have that really large firm experience, national practice group, but I’m able to deliver that experience in a very low-cost-efficient environment. And I think clients appreciate that today. They want to get value.
Brian Hemsworth 4:45
So they’re getting that really high quality legal counsel, but they’re not necessarily paying for the marble floor in the big oak desk.
David Oberg 4:48
That’s exactly correct.
Brian Hemsworth 4:57
And the and the Wilshire Boulevard address.
David Oberg 5:00
That’s exactly correct.
Brian Hemsworth 5:01
Got it. Got it. So tell me how has obviously this last year, year and a half has been quite strange, a very challenging road for a lot of us to move along. But we seem to be coming out of it a bit right now. How has the last year or so been for you in your firm?
David Oberg 5:23
It’s actually been very amazing for us. The pandemic where everybody moved inside and started working remote. Well, as you know, I’ve been working out of the house now, for 15 years.
Brian Hemsworth 5:38
You had a 15 year head start on the rest of us.
David Oberg 5:41
It was really no change. For me, it’s day one, I went down the hall and went to my office. And day two, exactly the same thing. What else I did that was different was I expanded the firm last year May. So it’s a year now. My daughter, Madison, who graduated from law school, and then passed the bar, joined me in my firm. So we doubled the size of the firm, we went from one to two, during the pandemic. And it’s worked out very well.
Brian Hemsworth 6:10
Well, and we know Madison, and we just we absolutely adore Madison. So very glad to see that’s working well. She seems like a real good fit. What’s interesting to us on the outside is you and Madison, actually I’d say you’re cut from the same cloth, but you’re really not the same. Two very different personalities. It’s quite fun for us on the outside to sort of know both of you.
David Oberg 6:35
It is. We have very different philosophies. And, look, she’s a different generation than I am. And I respect that. But I think that we both respect each other. And we recognize that we have different talent and skill sets. And I think that we actually complement each other very nicely. So I actually learned from her as well. It’s not just a one way street.
Brian Hemsworth 7:03
Now tell us: there is one other key player at the firm and that player has four legs. Who is that?
That’s Sophie. Sophie is our chief wellness officer. She is a 48 pound Pitbull boxer mix and that we rescued four years ago and she’s just, she’s lovely. And she pretty much hangs out, as you know, right by my desk. And if I’m on a zoom call, you can usually see her next to the desk. I tell you the funniest thing is that she can sense now, when calls are ending, because she can kind of tell when you’re wrapping it up. She’s up, and she’s ready to go. Because when the call ends, she knows it’s time to go out for a little stroll.
I was gonna say she wants a walk or cookies.
David Oberg 7:53
Exactly, yeah, go out for a walk.
Brian Hemsworth 7:56
So with Sophie, tell us just real quick. If somebody wanted to see a picture of Sophie, might they see that on your website?
David Oberg 8:05
Absolutely. She has her own landing page. And I’ll put a plug in for Madison. Madison has just rescued a dog as well. Luther, and Luther is now up on the website as well. And that website is OberglawAPC (as in: apple, Peter, charles) .com.
Brian Hemsworth 8:26
Very good. Well, I hope everybody goes to see that. Okay, so we’ve gotten some of the business out of the way, I want to throw out just a couple things to you. And I just want to hear your reaction. And for anybody listening, this is totally unrehearsed. David doesn’t really know what I’m about to say. So this is always the fun part for me, since I know what I’m going to say. So I’m going to throw out the first one. And I’m going to throw out the word Porsche. What does Porsche mean to you?
David Oberg 8:52
It’s a great brand, and a fabulous car that I’ve had the privilege of owning several and enjoyed them very much.
Brian Hemsworth 9:03
And what’s been your favorite, which has been your favorite?
David Oberg 9:07
I’ve only had the convertibles and I think that my absolute favorite is the 911 convertible that I most recently had.
Brian Hemsworth 9:18
And possibly the ultimate sort of Canyon PCH car, I would say.
David Oberg 9:25
It is. Truth be told. The Boxster actually handles a little better but it’s got that mid engine car. the the 911 is just that’s really it.
Brian Hemsworth 9:38
My dad had an associate when I was a teenager. And she was a bit younger than he was and she was a little bit less conservative. So she showed up for dinner at our house one weekend and she mentioned that she was going to be taking a trip and she asked my brother who was 19 and she asked me who, at the time I was 16, if we would watch after her 911 Targa for about three weeks while she was gone, and my dad’s eyes almost popped out of his head, because he knew what that meant. And he, he was not sure that he liked it. We said yes before he could say no. And so some of my fondest memories of that year in high school, and I had just got my license, which of course, here in California, getting your license 16 at everything. And being able to drive, you know, I had to warm up that engine, I had just had to, of course, you know, at least, you know, run a little bit of gas and oil.
David Oberg 10:38
You don’t want the tires to sit. Get hard.
Brian Hemsworth 10:43
So we lived out on the west side. So driving up PCH was just so cool. Absolutely. So cool.
David Oberg 10:50
It’s truly an amazing vehicle. I think that they just, you look at the 911 and you can see how it’s evolved over the years. But you can always tell that it’s still part of the same family. And they just are amazing cars. I’ve had the privilege of owning 12 of them at this point.
Brian Hemsworth 11:07
David Oberg 11:08
Yeah. They’re amazing. Get better, faster, stronger and more toys.
Brian Hemsworth 11:14
So let me throw another another concept out to you. Police Department?
David Oberg 11:22
Well, you’ll recall or maybe you don’t recall, but I took a semester off of college. And I joined the police academy. Excuse me, I went to the police academy, and then joined Culver City Police Department in 1983. And I stayed there as a reserve officer. I promoted and I retired as a reserve captain in 2015. So 32 years later. That was my community service and enjoyed it very, very much.
Brian Hemsworth 11:54
So So tell me what that was like, being a practicing attorney. But if I was to say it politically, I’d say you’re a practicing attorney with a badge and a gun.
David Oberg 12:06
It’s true. And I’ve never for that reason, had a practice that did anything criminal Law related. I’ve always been on the on the civil side. And again, business transactional stuff, primarily. But it does give you a very different perspective. You tend to meet people at their worst. People normally only call the police if they need to, and there’s something bad happening. Very, very rewarding career. I think that men and women in law enforcement are just absolutely amazing. Probably the hardest job out there. It’s unbelievable what you have to deal with on a daily basis. So I have a tremendous amount of respect for law enforcement. And I’m thrilled that I did it when I did it. I got to, I think, really help people. And it was a very enjoyable experience. And like I said, it’s not for everybody. And it was my form of community service. It was something that I didn’t get paid for. And if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t have done it for 32 years.
Brian Hemsworth 13:14
Well, good on you for that. I think that’s a…I think it’s good for people to expose themselves to others around our community that we might not otherwise. And I think for you doing that, as a reserve officer, like you say, you can see people when they’re at their worst, but ideally, you’re there to help them in one way or another.
David Oberg 13:38
That’s exactly it. And I think it’s very important that we’ve tried to teach our children the same thing that you have to give back. You can’t just take take take. You’ve got to do something for your community. And I wouldn’t encourage everybody to go into law enforcement. But whether you join your church or your temple. Madison volunteers at the Agoura animal shelter. You got to do something to give back. That’s what’s really important.
Brian Hemsworth 14:02
And I think those of us that have that have done things like that, we find we’re as much the better for it as anybody that we try to help along the way.
David Oberg 14:13
I agree with you. There’s something very special that happens to you when you can just give to others and help them and no compensation. It’s nice, it’s very rewarding.
Brian Hemsworth 14:28
So I’ve got another one for you. And you and I have never really talked about this. We scratched the surface one time. Previously, in fact, I can remember when it was. I was walking through Lowe’s, and I got a call from you. And through the phone it sounded almost as if your ears perked up a little bit when I was at Lowe’s and you said you’ve done a fair amount of woodworking.
David Oberg 14:52
I have. Again, just one of those things that I’ve really really enjoyed. I started it back in elementary school, then continued woodworking in high school, and then took a lot of that in college as well. I really enjoy finished carpentry work. And in my house, I have a full woodshop. And although I, truthfully at this point, it’s harder and harder for me to justify doing it because I’m slow. I’m very methodical and it’s not cost efficient. They’re just there are people that do it better and faster and less expensive than me. So it’s but it’s something that I’ve really always enjoyed.
Brian Hemsworth 15:36
But you know, I think woodworking is one of those things that it’s, you know, if you need to get something done, sure, you can hire somebody, and if they do it all the time, they can do it quickly and inexpensively. But I think things like woodworking, help save us money on therapy.
David Oberg 15:53
It’s true. Anything, where you have to really focus and concentrate on what you’re doing. Otherwise, you’re going to lose a finger or an eye. You know, because you’re working with power tools. It’s very important, you have to focus on that. But I’ve channeled my energy into another one of those which is golf. It’s a lot…
Brian Hemsworth 16:19
David Oberg 16:23
Yeah, let’s just put it this way. I think that I leave the carpentry to the professionals. They really, really they can do it so much better than I. But, I certainly enjoyed it.
Brian Hemsworth 16:36
There’s one more thing I want to I want to hit on today. And I’m going to throw out another word. And I want everybody listening to know, this has nothing to do with how you practice law. And that word is magic.
David Oberg 16:53
Another long term hobby. I started practicing magic when I was eight years old. I used to live over by the farmers market, which for those who have grown up in Los Angeles now referred to as the Grove. Back then it was just the farmers market. And there was a great magic shop and I used to hang out over there. And I had a great mentor who taught me a lot of sleight of hand and I would demonstrate the magic tricks behind the counter. Really got into it. And at 12 I auditioned and became a performing member of the Magic Castle up in Hollywood.
Brian Hemsworth 17:30
David Oberg 17:30
At 12. And I’ve been there ever since. So it’s, again, it’s a long term hobby. I did a lot of magic through high school at parties and events and things of that nature and then in college so it was a form of making money.
Brian Hemsworth 17:44
What what kind of magic was your style?
David Oberg 17:47
Yeah, I do sleight of hand. Close up work. Cards, coins.
Brian Hemsworth 17:52
Wow, we’re gonna have to have you maybe break out some coins or cards for us one of these days when we have the video cameras rolling.
David Oberg 18:00
Brian Hemsworth 18:01
Well, David, that’s been really fun having you come by. Thanks for sharing a little bit about both what you do during the daytime hours and maybe a few of those other things that take up some of the other hours of the day or week. So thanks for coming by.
David Oberg 18:15
Thanks for having me.
Brian Hemsworth 18:16
Unknown Speaker 18:26
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