Kevin Silberman, Los Angeles

Workers’ compensation lawyer; 
tour bus company owner

Laid off from Latham & Watkins in February 2009

Kevin Silberman was one of 190 associates who lost his job at Latham in a single day in February 2009 (the size of the cutback spawned the term “getting Lathamed”). Just a year and a half into his career, Silberman used the layoff as an excuse to take a break. After nine months of, in his words, “learning Spanish and drinking lots of wine” throughout South America, Silberman returned home to join his mother, father and brother in a family practice focused on workers’ compensation law. He now says he realizes that he was never suited for big-firm life. “There are certain people that fit a culture like that, and it was pretty evident I was not one of those people,” he says. “They compensate you very well, and in return I think you have to give them a lot. Some people are willing to make those sacrifices, and I probably wasn’t.”

At the beginning of 2011, Silberman and a college roommate decided to turn their love of travel into a business. They started a tour bus company, A Day in L.A. Tours, “as a hobby, purely for fun,” Silberman says. “We didn’t start it with the idea of turning it into a huge enterprise, but it snowballed and started getting popular.” Today, the company has about a dozen part-time employees—primarily culled from the ranks of would-be actors and comedians living in Los Angeles—who conduct daily tours from a fleet of seven buses painted in Rastafarian colors. A second business, RastaBus, provides charters for groups going to bachelor parties, weddings, wine tours and the like. “It’s a little more than a side project now,” Silberman says. “But I’m still working in law. It’s a balancing act.”

Silberman says that if he and his business partner had their way, “we’d both travel all the time. But since you can’t do that, it’s nice to be involved in the tourism industry.” He also likes boosting Los Angeles’s image. “A lot of people hate L.A. and say how hard it is to get around,” he says. “We think L.A. has a lot to offer, and we help make sure people end up in the right places.” (Those places include Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Griffith Park.) Though he’s part of the brains behind the business, there’s one job Silberman has yet to try: “I’ve never actually conducted a tour myself,” he says. “I think I’d be terrible at it.”—Sara Randazzo