Joshua Rubenstein is the national chair of Katten’s Private Wealth practice and is based in New York This week, he spoke to Private Client Global Elite about why he became a lawyer, the most unusual request he’s ever had from a client and his love of music…

Why did you become a lawyer?

Tough question.  The easy answer is that it is a genetic defect in my family, and I am the fourth generation first born male private client lawyer.  My Dad died at 91 preparing to try a will contest.  His father was the presiding judge of the Brooklyn probate court.  The judge’s father was the Brooklyn Alderman in charge of estate taxes.  My children have had amniocentesis and happily the defect ends with me.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?

Had to be my Dad. He spoke of little else.

What was your proudest professional moment?

In the early part of my career, whenever I went to Court, court personnel would always say, “That’s Seth’s son.”  One day, my Dad and I were both in Court, and one of the clerk’s said, “That’s Josh’s father.”

What was your worst day at work?

I was a first year associate working on an international estate, and my supervising partner had no idea what to do.  I figured it all out, but had to ask him whether he wanted one thing rather than another on a choice between US and Swiss law.  He was so angry that I asked him a question he had not considered that he threw a lit cigar at me, grabbed me by the collar, and pulled me into the hallway and berated me in front of every lawyer and secretary on the floor.  The head of my department made him apologize to me, which he did in the men’s room at a urinal. My career only got better after that.

What advice would you give a trainee just starting out?

Whatever you do will take up most of your time. Do something you love.

What do you think will be the most significant trend in your practice over the next 12 months?

Remote vs in-person will be the tug of war over the next 12 months.  In-person will win.

What is the most unusual or shocking request you’ve ever had from a client? 

I had a favorite grande dame who asked me to put a provision in her will directing that her body be cremated and that her executor scatter her ashes at her local Westfield Shopping Mall, so she knew that her children would visit.

What’s your favourite midnight snack when you’re in late from the office?

Sorry, I don’t snack.

What was your top lockdown box-set?

Sherlock Holmes.

What do you do when you’re not working? Any hobbies?

Music, music, music.

What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer? 

Music, music, music.

What is the book you’d recommend to everyone?

Lord of the Rings

Where can you see yourself in ten, twenty, thirty years? 

I can see myself as Yoda, being wise and giving everyone advice.  I just don’t want to be green and have big ears.

You’re allowed to go on a (socially distant!) walk with anyone from history, who do you choose?

Heraclitus, who said, “the only constant in life is change.”

What song will never fail to get you on the dance floor?

I’m So Excited.