[Transcript of interview with Ike Lawrence Epstein by Barbara Tabach, August 24, 2017 and February 2, 2018]. Epstein, Ike Lawrence Interview, 2017 August 24 & 2018 February 2. OH-03227. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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An Interview with Ike Lawrence Epstein An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tab ach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Barbara Tabach 11 The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first- person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas m Preface Ike Lawrence Epstein’s office at the recently opened UFC headquarters is sunlit and handsomely decorated. A black and white photo taken by the famous British photographer David Bailey of the Kray brother adorns the wall. Lawrence, as everyone knows him, is the son of Kenny Epstein and Donna Goldstein. He was bom, in 1966, and raised in Las Vegas. He attended Vanderbilt University (BA 1989, JD 1992) and then returned to live fulltime in Las Vegas with his law degree in hand. In addition to being COO of the UFC, he is active in the family business, the El Cortez Hotel and Casino. In this oral history, Lawrence recalls his grandparents, their careers in Las Vegas, and his youthful favorite holidays being Passover and Thanksgiving. He became a bar mitzvah in Israel, a tradition he continues with his own children with Michelle Epstein. Lawrence serves the community as a board member of Meadows School and on the Stadium Board. As an executive with UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship], Lawrence observes the overall magnitude of sports in Las Vegas in 2017, how it came to this point with professional sports, and what he envisions as the future possibilities of the city as an international sports destination. IV Table of Contents Interview with Ike Lawrence Epstein August 24, 2017 and February 2, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Barbara Tabach Preface..................................................................................iv Session 1 Talks about boxing match coming up this weekend between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. Bom at Sunrise Hospital in 1966; recalls growing up on the Desert Inn Golf Course; celebrity house; Dr. Quagliana; Billy and Beth Weinberger; Keely Smith; A. J. Foyt. Younger sister, Dana. Ancestral background, named for his grandfather Isidore Epstein; talks about maternal grandparents who were in gaming and moved to Las Vegas in 1950s; paternal grandfather was an executive at Stardust..........................................................1-4 Mentions father becoming an executive at Caesars Palace; Nat Hart’s Ahso restaurant; attending Las Vegas Day School kindergarten through 7th grade; Phillips Academy boarding school and Josh Miner, who started Outward Bound; then Eaglebrook School in Massachusetts. Mentions being on board of Meadows School. Speaks about being a Jewish youth; becoming a bar mitzvah at the Western Wall in Israel; membership with Congregation Ner Tamid and Rabbi Sanford Akselrad............................................................................4-10 Attends Vanderbilt University and living in Nashville; law school; desire to return to Las Vegas to live. His first law job was as a clerk for Jim Tuftland who was with Rex Bell, District Attorney; followed by a position as a law clerk with Eighth Judicial District Court and Judge Joseph Pavlikowski.........................................................................10-15 Tells story of coming to be the COO of UFC, his current position; was a commercial litigator, Beckley Singleton firm; did some work for Bob Arum and Top Rank; also Fertittas and Station Casinos; very involved from the beginning in 2001 when Feritta family purchased UFC; joined UFC in 2007. Describes his position with UFC; international aspect of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts); Pay-Per_View deals with Spike and Fox Sports. Describes major objections to MMA sports and cage fighting; comparison to boxing injuries; Ronda Rousey and female MMA athletes; brain injury study with Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Brain Health Center.....................16-19 Recalls first time ever saw a MMA match; Grade brothers; trying his hand at MMA and his sports background as a youth...............................................................20-21 v Session 2 Talks about his paternal grandfather, from Chicago, moved to Lake Tahoe in 1950s; his father followed after high school. His mother’s father Dave Goldstein, from Kentucky, in illegal gaming found Las Vegas a better opportunity. Ike’s mother is a graduate of Las Vegas High School and her father was a partner in the Dunes Hotel and at Golden Nugget before retiring. Talks about his personal strategy and not following into gaming; decision to attend law school; impact of clerkship with Joseph Pavlikowski; started representing people in the gaming industry and also working with his father Kenny Epstein and his dad’s mentor, Jackie Gaughn (El Cortez)....................22-24 Reflects on gaming industry people he grew up around, Steve Wynn, Jackie Gaughn, E. Walker, his affable grandfather Dave Goldstein. Also talks about his Jewish grandmothers, his favorite holidays being Passover and Thanksgiving; nostalgia for 1960s era; attended Temple Beth Sholom Sunday school; mentions Jerry and Elliott Blut, matzah brei at El Cortez, Bock brothers. Talks about Las Vegas being tailor made for Jews in the early days of gaming; mentions reading a book about Kirk Kerkorian........................................................................25-29 Provides a perspective of Las Vegas and its evolving relationship with professional sports; UNLV basketball, professional boxing, challenges of professional teams arriving; coming of Raiders football, stellar start of Golden Knights hockey franchise. Mentions Michael Gaughan’ bowling tournaments, wrestling, equestrian competitions, rodeo, NASCAR, UFC; visions of the possibilities in the future as Las Vegas continues to grow as an international destination... .30 - 35 Tells about his position with the Las Vegas Stadium Board; who is on it; responsibilities; Stadium Authority; stadium company operator, Stadco. Talks about security at large venue events; focus on UFC pre-1 October and after, planning for such events. Story about Oscar and Carolyn Goodman and becoming involved with the board of Meadows School; his mother’s connection with Dr. LeOre Cobbley......................................................................36-43 vi Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project UNLV University Libraries Use Agreement Name of Narrator: J-KS- L Au'l£ Name of Interviewer: We, the above named, give to the Oral History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded interview(s) initiated on 0?~Zk/-'£ci) 7 along with typed transcripts as an unrestricted gift, to be used for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative of UNLV, to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. I understand that my interview will be made available to researchers and may be quoted from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral History Research Center and UNLV Libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. Signature of Interviewer Date Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, NV 89154-7010 702.895.2222 Vll Session 1 Today is August 24th. This is Barbara Tabach with the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage project. I’m sitting in the UFC offices of Ike Lawrence Epstein. I appreciate very much that you’re participating in this project. Well, thanks for coordinating the project. It’s really kind of a fun weekend for you coming up—we’ll talk about it later—with the big—what do we call this—a super fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, right? You got it. It's just a boxing match. It's going to be at the T-Mobile Arena this weekend and it should be hopefully the biggest, most successful boxing event of all time. That will be really interesting to see what happens and how the fighters do and the fans react. I assume everything is on schedule to be a great event. Everything is on schedule. We have the weigh-ins tomorrow at four p.m. So the fighters will weigh in at a hundred and fifty-four pounds, hopefully. Then the event will take place the following day or following evening, I should say, at the T-Mobile. So it's going to be exciting. That's very wonderful. I'm going to go way off the boxing topic and talk about Las Vegas. You were born in 1966 and you were born Ike Lawrence. Where does the name Ike come from? Ike was my grandfather's nickname; his name was actually Isidore Epstein, but everybody called him Ike. So when I was born they gave me his nickname as my first name. That's great. You grew up in Las Vegas. You were born here, actually. I was. Boy, what was it like as you were growing up? What are your childhood memories of Las 1 Vegas? Well, first of all, I was bom at Sunrise Hospital. I think there was Southern Nevada and Sunrise, so there were two hospitals in town. It was just that one little building; I remember that when I was a little bit older, obviously. But I grew up mainly on the Desert Inn Golf Course where the Wynn Hotel is now. It was a really amazing place to grow up because there were houses around the perimeter of the golf course and then there was a thing called the inner circle, which had a variety of houses, and there were probably seventy or eighty different residences there, maybe a little bit more. Most of the houses didn't have fences, so your backyard sort of opened up onto the golf course, and it was like having a hundred-and-some-acre park that really was your backyard. That was really a lot of fun, really a lot of fun exploring the golf course, and running around there at night was really pretty neat especially living in the desert. For sure. Who were your running around with? Who were some of your childhood friends? It's funny. We didn't have a lot of kids that lived in the neighborhood. I feel like it was a lot of older people that lived there. My mother tells me—I don't remember it that well—but there was a house in the inner circle that was owned by, I believe, the MGM, and so visiting celebrities would stay at the house when they were doing their residency at the MGM or at the Hilton, the International even before that. My mother [Donna Lee Goldstein] always tells the story that Barbra Streisand was performing either at the International or the MGM and she had her son with her, and so we played a few times around the golf course and around the area. But we didn't have a ton of kids that lived in that area. It was mainly people that were a little bit older. The only family I really remember was—two families—Dr. Quagliana, who was an oncologist here—still is an oncologist here in Las Vegas, and then Beth and Billy 2 Weinberger. They had a house in the inner circle and they had a couple of boys that we used to hang out with every once in a while. Mostly it was like...Keely Smith had a house there. I remember A.J. Foyt lived there for a little while. Some interesting people, but definitely not a lot of kids. Did you have siblings? Yes, I've got a sister, Dana, that I grew up with and then my father remarried and he has two other children, two other daughters. So your sister is Dana? Dana, yes. Is she younger or older? She's two years or so younger. So she'd be your companion running around? Yes. She still lives here in Las Vegas. She's married to a doctor here in town. Yes, she was my little sister, still is. Tell me what you know about your ancestral roots, the Epsteins on both sides, your mother's and your father's side. I think it's a pretty similar story to a lot of people that moved out here. Both of my grandparents were in the gaming business outside of Las Vegas, so either in the bookmaking business or in sort of illegal casino-type business. My mother's parents moved to Vegas in the mid to late 1950s from Indianapolis. My grandfather was originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and he had a very funny sort of Kentucky accent; he had a little bit of a drawl. He was in Indianapolis and then he moved to Las Vegas in 1956, 1957, something around there. 3 My mother went to Las Vegas High School and graduated from Las Vegas High School when I think there were only three high schools; it was basically Basic in Henderson and Boulder City and Las Vegas. I think Gorman was just starting. I think Gorman started in the late fifties, I believe, but Gorman was just sort of getting started. So she came here along with her two sisters. Then my dad's father initially went to Lake Tahoe for a period of time while my dad was still in high school and ultimately moved down here to Las Vegas around 1960,1 believe, or 1959, and so my dad had just graduated high school. So he went off to college for a period of time in Southern California. But my father's father was an executive at the Stardust Hotel and my mother's father was an executive at the Dunes. So to say you were entrenched in Las Vegas history, the number-one industry to give us a place on the map— Yes, it's definitely one of the great memories of growing up is that we used to go out and eat at the casinos and go to the restaurants. I remember we used to go to the Dome of the Sea, which was an interesting restaurant at the Dunes. That was always a very theatrical place. It's funny. I'm really into food now; I'm a total foodie. But then I just don't remember how good the food was. I was young, so I don't think I had a good frame of reference whether the food was good or not. But it was a cool place. It had a harp player moving around the room, I remember, and I always thought it was pretty neat. Then my father ended up becoming an executive at Caesars Palace. I think he worked there from the time it opened in 1966 until the early seventies, and so we would go there a lot. I loved the Ahso Restaurant. It was a Japanese, sort of Polynesian—I don't know exactly what cuisine it was; it sort of like a Teppanyaki-type place, but it was sort of like a Trader Vic's or 4 their own version of it. But I just thought that was the coolest place ever. Every birthday I wanted to go to the Ahso because it was such a really cool place that when you go in there you go over this Japanese bridge and it had like a little stream going through it. It was, once again, another typical Vegas, very theatrical-type place. I have no idea if the food was good or not, but it seemed good to me at the time. It was a restaurant with Nat Hart. I think he started it. Yes, yes. Everybody always speaks highly of his gourmet food. Yes, I think it was good, but, once again, I don't know. When you're a kid it's the experience, right? We used to go to the Palace Court and that was the fanciest restaurant in town. It just seemed really fancy. The Palace Court? At Caesars Palace at the Palace Court, which was like the really high-end restaurant. I went there a few times and that was just like...At the time it seemed over the top, just really, really fancy, but cool and fun places to go. So you went to school at Las Vegas Day School kindergarten through seventh grade. Then you went away to Massachusetts. That's a unique experience. It seems like anybody who's from Las Vegas, people have certain misconceptions about where you're from. Do you remember that at that age? Absolutely. It was funny because I was a very good student. I was certainly the top student in my class all the way through Las Vegas Day School. Both my parents were into education and they wanted me to be challenged academically. So we started talking about when I was twelve or 5 thirteen maybe going away to school, maybe going to a boarding school, because there weren't really the same options there are now. Now I'm very involved and have been on the board for almost twenty years of the Meadows School and that's a very academically oriented institution. We just didn't have anything like that. So the option really was to go to Clark, which was sort of the best—they didn't have, I don't believe, like an honor's program at the time like they do now—but it was considered the best public school always. So it was sort of like, okay, should I go to Clark or is there something else out there? So I went back and visited schools with my dad when I was twelve or thirteen years old and looked at all these different prep schools in the Northeast. It's sort of like, hey, let's do it. I went to a school that I end up going to, Phillips Academy, and we met this sort of legendary guy. He was the director of admissions. His name was Josh Miner. He was a very famous guy. He's one of the guys who started Outward Bound. Oh, sure. I guess you're familiar with it. It's one of those sort of adventure things; you go live on an island for a while and find yourself or whatever. But a lot of youth did it. It was sort of a thing in New England for people to do. He said, "You seem like a good student, but maybe you should try this out before you come all the way to Andover," which was certainly, if not the top, it's one of the top two high schools in the country. So he suggested that we go to a school called Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Massachusetts. "See if you do well there. If you do well there, you can come to Andover. You'd probably do well at Andover." So I did go to Eaglebrook School for eighth and ninth grade in this really small town in central Massachusetts. It couldn't be more different than living in Las Vegas. I remember when I moved into my dorm—I can see the guy's face; I can't remember his name—but we had a family 6 that lived in the dorm with you. Big mustache. We started talking. Where are you from? I said, "Las Vegas." It's almost like his face turned...He just went off on UNLV basketball. He was like, "UNLV is a bunch of cheaters." I was just like...This is the early eighties. He just sort of went off on how UNLV was a bunch of cheaters and they were no good. I was like, wow. I didn't expect that. Then you would get a lot of these questions like, do you live on the Strip? Do you live in a hotel? Actually, I did sort of live very close to the Strip; I lived on the Desert Inn Golf Course. I was like, "No, I live in a house and it's pretty normal." At least it felt like it was pretty normal to me. But there was definitely a lot of interest in being from Vegas and what that was all about. I was definitely not the norm. Most kids were from New York City or from Connecticut or from somewhere in Massachusetts, certainly mainly from the Northeast. But we had some kids from all over the world. We had some interesting families that sent their kids there. It was a diverse group in some ways. But Las Vegas was a pretty exotic place, no doubt about that. Yes, there’s a certain patina to it just saying it. Well, Las Vegas, coming out of—this is 1980—so it's a little bit different than 2017 where the Raiders are here and pro hockey. It's a little bit different deal. We have arrived at a new pinnacle, I guess, for the city. You’re absolutely right. So going away at that time did your Jewish education continue or how was that? Did you have a bar mitzvah? Yes. I went to Sunday school at Temple Beth Sholom. It's funny. There's a lot of kids that went to the Sunday school with us. It was fun. We had a good time. I remember they always would give us cookies and milk. I don't remember doing—studying a few things here and there, but it certainly was not a rigorous Jewish education. It was definitely laid-back. We certainly did some 7 stuff, but it was not like a Hebrew emersion type of a program. But I was bar mitzvahed. I actually went to Israel in 1979 and was bar mitzvahed at the Western Wall. I studied with the cantor at the time, Cantor Kohn, who was the cantor at Temple Beth Sholom. We used to go to his house and study for my Haftarah. He was great. He was on top of me. He was definitely a disciplinarian and made sure that I got it done right and everything was good, no mistakes, everything was perfect. That was a really cool experience going to Israel in the late seventies. It was different than it is now. I've been back three times since and it's very different. It was very much open. We went to Bethlehem and all this stuff and it was wide open. There were no walls and no Palestinian territory. It was all just a country. It seemed like everybody was sort of okay. I'm sure that people weren't necessarily happy. There were people that were maybe unhappy with what the Israelis were doing, but it didn't seem that way. It seemed like everyone was living together and it was okay. We went to places like Bethlehem. We went to Hebron. We went to all these places that now they're like, well, you've got to be careful if you go to Hebron. No problem at all. We spent some time at the (Bedlands). We just did all these different things. It was one of the most interesting trips I had ever been on. It's cool because we took some videos of the trip and the bar mitzvah and all that and I've gone back and looked at them, not recently, but it was pretty interesting to see things. As I said, I've been back to Israel three times since and it's still great, but just different, just very different. My two sons and my daughter were all bar or bat mitzvahed in Israel, too. I think that’s a really great concept to take children to Israel for their bar and bat mitzvah. It takes the pressure off of having a big party. Or do you still have a big party? No, we didn't have a big party. We just did a trip over there. We did some parties for their 8 sixteenth birthday or graduation, but I think those are more appropriate for the party. I like to travel. I travel a ton with my job. We travel a lot for vacation. I just love Israel. It's a really cool place. I feel like every time I go there I get smarter or I find something really good to eat or I meet somebody that's really interesting. It seems like a place that sparks my curiosity for some reason. As I told all of my kids when they got bar or bat mitzvahed, I said, "This was a great gift that my parents gave me. They took me here in 1979. And now I fulfilled my obligation; I brought all three of you, and I expect you to do the same thing for your kids. You better treat them like my parents treated me and like I treated you." They said they'd live up to it, so we'll see. Time will tell. Do you belong to Temple Beth Sholom still? I don't. I ended up joining Congregation Ner Tamid a long time ago, before it moved out to Henderson. I just love the rabbi. He married me. We belong there, too. He's a good guy. Yes, Rabbi Akselrad. Yes, he's just a great guy. That's great. So did he go with you on those (bar mitzvah) trips? No. We hired a rabbi; two times we had the same guy and one time we had somebody else. No, we just found some guys over in Israel, some friends advised us to use. It was great. I think having somebody that knows the ropes...Even if you brought your own rabbi over, you'd still probably get a local guy to make sure. We did all of the ceremonies at a place called Robinson's Arch. We didn't do it where I did it; I did it right at the wall and then we went inside and got the Torahs from the cave there under the wall. We did them all at Robinson's Arch, which is an 9 incredibly beautiful setting. It's an area that when I was there was all underground and over the last thirty years they've excavated it and they found this other—basically the continuation of the wall. You still see the boulders that the Romans pushed over. It was all underground. They say it's the place where the money changers were that Jesus turned over the tables, right there. It's a really amazing, cool place. It wasn't there when I was there. So it's a neat place to do the ceremony. I don't know which way it would be, but if you're facing the wall it would be to the right. I know where you’re talking about. I don't know if it was Robinson's Arch, but I've been there and the excavation is just amazing. It's amazing. It's absolutely incredible. How city upon city upon city have been building of what is below. So if you look up and you see the wall then on the other side of that is where the traditional sort of Western Wall is, really cool. My daughter was bat mitzvahed in June, so we were just there in June, great trip. That's great. I love hearing that. So you are at Phillips Academy in Andover and you graduated from there. Then you went to Vanderbilt University. How did you choose to go to Vanderbilt? I went to Andover. So I continued to be sort of like the top kid in my class all the way up through ninth grade. Then I went to Andover—it's either the number-one or the number-two high school in the country. You definitely sort of saw what real competition is. There's a lot of smart people and a lot of them are there. So I went from being number one to whatever middle of the pack is. That's the only way you can make your game better, right? Yes. It was a great academic experience for me and very challenging. But, listen, you're dealing 10 with the smartest kids in the country. I didn't do poorly, but, as I said, I was sort of a middle-of-the-pack guy. I sort of wanted to go to Princeton; that was my first choice and I didn't get in. So I applied to a bunch of other schools. I was close to going to a school in California, going to USC or going to Berkeley or going to something on the West Coast. I actually got into Brandeis, was one of the schools I was considering, and a few smaller schools in the Northeast. But I had applied to Vanderbilt in part because my dad had this guy, he was a partner of his named Dick Crane. He was a small partner in the Coast Casinos, Barbary Coast with my dad, and he was talking about Vanderbilt. He was a big Vandy guy. So I went down there to visit, and I had never been anywhere in the South before, ever. Nashville is sort of mid-South. It's not Deep South. It's sort of mid-South, but it definitely has a southern feel to it. It's weird. I remember landing in Nashville and—I don't know—it just felt really different. Here I was from Las Vegas, growing up in the desert of the West. I had gone to high school for five years in New England in typical idyllic New England towns, particularly Eaglebrook in Deerfield, which is in the middle of the forest. I just felt like it was totally different. I had never been there before. It's a beautiful campus and everybody was so nice. I don't know. That college decision is a bit emotional. It was just different. I didn't really know anybody that was going there. I just said, "Yes, let's give it a shot." Actually I knew one guy who was already a sophomore there. He was a freshman; he was a year ahead of me when I visited. I had a fun time with him. They had a great college football game. It sort of felt like college. Some of these schools don't feel as much like college. They sort of feel like going to school. I thought Nashville was a really cool town and, well, let's give it a shot. I absolutely loved it. I wish they had a program that I wanted to go to and I really targeted it; I really didn't. It was just one of a bunch of schools I got into and when I visited I felt like it was 11 the right fit for me. It was; it was just a great place. I ended up staying there obviously four years, graduated and went to law school for three [years] after. So I spent seven years in Nashville, which is just one of the great cities anywhere in the world. It's a really nice place. It is. Yes, it's a really nice place. You graduated from law school in 1992. So you’ve really got a variety of samplings of the United States between Vegas and Massachusetts and Tennessee. How did you decide to come back to Las Vegas? I was always coming back to Las Vegas. That was never really a discussion point. Listen, I was looking at maybe going to work in a law firm for a couple of years in Washington or somewhere else, but, no, I always wanted to come back to Las Vegas. I love it here. This is where I'm from. I like everything about it. I like the weather. I like the lifestyle here. Obviously, my family is here, too. Yes, I never really had any thought of really for any extended period of time going anywhere else. It wasn't like, oh, I want to go to L.A., or, I want to go to New York, no. I always wanted to come back here. I saw a lot of opportunity, too. You could see the town was starting to grow and things were changing in the early nineties. I wanted to get into the legal business, which I did. There was a lot of opportunity and it was a great move because everything has worked out pretty good. Tell me about your first job in law. In the summertime I clerked for the District Attorney's Office here. After my first year of law school, I worked for the district attorney as an intern. Who was that at the time? 12 Rex Bell was the DA, but I worked for a guy who was a great guy, very smart guy; his name was Jim Tuftland and he was the head of the Appellate Division of the Clark County District Attorney's Office, so he would handle all the appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court or beyond. When you're in law school, you're sort of taught based upon appellate law; a big part of what you do is read appellate cases and learn law from that. You do other stuff, but that's a big part of it. So you're sort of in a good spot to write briefs and do things like that for an appellate group as opposed to being in a courtroom or drafting documents or something like that. They put me and a couple of other guys in that unit. I had a great summer. I ended up coming back and doing it again for another summer because my mind-set was I wanted to get involved in criminal law. I wanted to be either a criminal prosecutor or defense lawyer. I was thinking about that as a career and I wanted to get to understand it more, and so I did a couple of summers in the DA's office. That was really my first official job. But my dad wasn't really high on that. He said, "I don't think that's a good idea. You're hanging out with criminals and that's what you're basically going to be dealing with. I think it's a bad idea." But I said, "I want to do it." I had done very well in particular—I did very well in my criminal law classes in law school, too. I got A's in all those classes. So I was like, this is it. This is what I understand. I'm doing well in the classes. I've got this great experience in the summertime. Ultimately, my dad said, "Listen, why don't you think about doing something else?" I said, "Let me think about it." Then I was given an opportunity to be a judicial law clerk in the Eighth Judicial District C