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Gordon K. Sattro, Director of Corporate Development at Legal Authority is an Innovator

published December 02, 2013

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Professional Overview

Gordon K. Sattro
Gordon K. Sattro is the Director of Corporate Development at Legal Authority. His practice areas include customer relationship management, business development (looking for new opportunities to expand Legal Authority's services and expand the company), customer service, and marketing and advertising. Prior to working at Legal Authority, Gordon focused on business planning, entity formation, contract negotiation, employment litigation, tax planning, and securities work (transactional).

His first business venture was in the fourth grade, when he decided to bring two suit cases worth of toys to school and charged other students to play with them. While the business model wasn't exactly sustainable, many of the toys were damaged beyond repair after a few days. It was Gordon's first venture into the business world. Although it was a very humble business venture, which actually cost him a "strong scolding" after his mother found out how many of his toys were damaged, Gordon had been inspired to lead a life of leadership and risk taking.

When Gordon was nineteen and attending California State University Fullerton, he made his next venture into the business world. "I saw a very high demand for rear-wheel drive vehicles and bargain priced sports cars so I decided to meet that demand by working at a car dealership." After gaining access to discounted parts and other services, he began selling cars for nearly a year. "It was a challenge of sorts, trying to meet demand and maintaining all the cars at my childhood home. Eventually, I had to move on."

Following this business venture, Gordon decided to pursue a career at Nordstrom while working on his undergrad studies. He recalled:
"It was a great learning experience and a fantastic opportunity. To work at Nordstrom is to work at a company that values customer service above all else, and working in the Woman's Shoes department truly served as a great place to learn everything you possibly can about customer service. It was a daunting task and required great effort, especially considering all the obligations I had with school."
While working full time at Nordstrom, Gordon was also on the wrestling team at Cal State Fullerton, which is an NCAA Division I wrestling team. His schedule required him to work a "split shift" where he would open the store in the morning, work four hours, attend practice and close the store at night. Gordon maintained this schedule for quite some time before he moved on to other opportunities at school. During his time at Cal State Fullerton, he became the President of the Model United Nations, where he traveled to Harvard with his team to compete against other top tier schools. "We succeeded in our goal of outshining the other teams and were able to receive the coveted title in the New York competition as 'Outstanding Delegation.'" Upon graduation, Gordon graduated as a member of the Political Science honors society and was recognized as an Outstanding Model United Nations Delegate.

He then attended Southwestern Law School. Gordon leaned towards learning more about the legal side of business with the hope to work with start-ups and to gain the ability to navigate the complex regulations tied to business. During his first year at Southwestern, Gordon decided to join the Army. There were many reasons that contributed to this decision. Among them were the following:
  1. "I have had a member of my family serve in every war the United States has taken part in since the Revolutionary war.
  2. I felt that in order to be a well-rounded individual, you must experience all things, and among those things is the discipline and honor required to serve your country.
  3. I felt that if I didn't join the military, I would always wonder 'what if I had,' and so I did."
When Gordon joined the Army, he was immediately sent to USC (University of Southern California) to begin his training. He would wake up Monday - Thursday at 4:45AM in order to train and attend his military classes. "It was an incredibly full schedule, it seemed, just as in undergrad, every minute of every day was planned including when to sleep, eat, and study." In addition, Gordon attended training at Ft. Lewis Washington during the summer and served with a series of different military units on the weekends. After signing up for the military and coupling it with the burden of a full-time law school schedule, he soon realized that every moment of everyday was planned throughout the remainder of his law school career.

As though this was not enough, Gordon also maintained two internships during his time in law school. He had an internship with an entertainment law firm. Gordon then worked with the National Guard Legal Assistance, where he gave back to the military community. He helped to spearhead an effort to reach out to every firm in the Los Angeles area and across California in order secure pro bono work for soldiers in need. It involved quite a bit of networking and cold-calling in order to gather enough firms to serve the military population in California.

In addition to Gordon's military obligations and his internship, he was recruited in his first year to serve as treasurer for Phi Alpha Delta (the largest law fraternity in the world). The following year, Gordon was elected to Justice (President) of the Sammis Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta. This was another opportunity where he could improve an already great organization. Gordon claimed:
"The year I was recruited in the fraternity, we had a total of 7 people join that year. When I took over as President, I created a large marketing campaign and we were able to have over 80 law students join the following year. It was unprecedented in our district. It was another great opportunity and allowed me to not only give back to the community through charity drives, but to also build a strong network of attorneys and friends that I maintain to this day."
While in law school, Gordon focused purely on business-oriented classes, where he always received high marks. He was fortunate enough to graduate among the top of his class, even with all of his other obligations he maintained outside of law school.

During law school, Gordon also helped to set-up a production company called Dangerous Ideas Media, where he served as the COO for more than a year until he began working for his close friend and mentor Evan Michael Hess. After advising several start-ups and helping Evan to gather business, he realized that it was once again time to "change gears." So Gordon responded to an ad online seeking an attorney for an employment advocate position. He saw this as an opportunity to work for a company that was established by attorney Harrison Barnes.

While working for Legal Authority, Gordon has found great satisfaction in helping attorneys secure employment in a difficult legal market. He noted:
"This is the most difficult legal market that attorneys have faced thus far. During my time with the company, I began to identify opportunities for expanding the service beyond its current state, and after several months of reflection and preparation, I presented Harrison with a business plan for the 'New Legal Authority.' Upon hearing my vision for the future of Legal Authority, Harrison promptly promoted me to 'Director of Corporate Development.' It was truly more than I could have ever hoped for. I now have the privilege of taking a great service and making it even better."
Gordon was born in Spokane, WA, where he lived until he was seven years old. He also lived in San Diego, Nevada, Washington, and Colorado. Gordon moved back to San Diego, where he completed high school. He earned his B.A. in Political Science and minored in International Politics while attending California State University Fullerton. During undergrad, Gordon was a member of the wrestling team, a member of the Political Science Honors Society, and President of the Model United Nations. He received his J.D. from Southwestern Law School. During law school, Gordon joined the U.S. Army National Guard and became an Army officer. He was also President of the Phi Alpha Delta Sammis chapter, and was a proud recipient of the Jeffrey C. Finnigan Memorial Scholarship fund.

When asked about his favorite sports team and hobbies, Gordon replied:
"My favorite sports team is the San Diego Padres. There are many reasons for this. Most notably is that I am an AVID Padres Scholar. As being one of the few to receive this honor, the Padres provided me with $10,000 for college while I was in seventh grade, which further motivated me to attend college.

I have a variety of hobbies.
  1. Traveling. I believe that in this life, the most important thing for one to do is to see the world. To stay restricted to one area will only limit your life experience to one point of view. I believe that traveling the world and interacting with many different cultures will not only help to enrich your life, but also make you appreciate the world we live in from a perspective that cannot be gained in any other way.
  2. Reading. I read as much as I can. I read the news, I read about astrophysics and technology, and I most frequently read non-fiction. I believe that taking one hour out of every day to do some 'pleasure reading' is another important part of living a well-rounded life.
  3. Eating. I love good food. Some have dubbed me a 'foodie.' If there is a new restaurant, I want to go there. If there is a new type of food I have never tried, I try it. Just like traveling, I believe that trying new things is the key to truly appreciating this diverse world we live in."
Gordon continued to say that his most memorable traveling experience occurred while he was on top of Mount Fuji, located on Honshu Island. It is the highest mountain in Japan (12,389 feet). While in Japan, he also enjoyed the Japanese culture and friendly people.

What are Gordon's favorite places to eat? He admitted:
"My favorite restaurant is Les Halles in New York. It's the home base of Chef-at-large Anthony Bourdain. Anthony Bourdain is not only one of my favorite chefs, but also an individual who I admire. The food at this restaurant and the ambiance is second-to-none if you love American beef that is delivered with French Style.

My favorite deli is Carnegie Deli in New York. There is no other place in the world where you can find a better Pastrami sandwich.

My favorite restaurant in Los Angeles is Osteria Mozza, a fantastic Italian restaurant from Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton."
Who is his favorite writer? Gordon answered:
"One of my favorite writers is Christopher Hitchens. He is quite a controversial figure and that is why I enjoy his writing so very much. He has been labeled by many as a 'contrarian.' His viewpoint as a contrarian, where one looks at the alternative argument (point of view) constantly, is what drew me to him. Christopher Hitchens' eloquence and unbelievably massive knowledge of seemingly all literature is what makes him my favorite author."
Gordon's Memories and Motivations

Did Gordon receive any awards or participate in any internship that influenced his decision to go into the law? He explained:
"Growing up in a poorer family, college seemed to be more of a luxury than something that we could afford. It wasn't until the end of 7th grade, when I received the AVID Padres Scholarship that I knew I could go to college.

While I was in college and working at Nordstrom as a manager, I realized that I wanted to do something more than simply 'work.' I wanted to create something. It was this realization, coupled with my strong interest in politics and legislation that initially created a desire to attend law school."
Why did he decide to become an attorney? Gordon stated:
"I decided to become an attorney because I wanted to work with young entrepreneurs to create new businesses and to create new markets. This is a very exciting time for new ventures to grow in our dynamic market.

The fact that our economy is in state of constant flux, where a simple 'app' can create a billion dollar company is very exciting and I always wanted to be a part of that. By combining my knowledge of running a business with my legal expertise, I saw that I could deliver a service to companies that very few attorneys could. I not only advise my clients, but I also have the opportunity to guide them to success. As I said above, it was a sincere desire to CREATE that drove me to become an attorney."
So what is the best part of Gordon's job? He disclosed:
"Knowing that I can make a difference in someone's life by helping them secure employment.

As with Nordstrom, the best part of the job is helping people. Providing a superior level of customer service and truly helping someone make a change in their life is an incredible honor.

I also love helping our company grow and constantly thinking about how to deliver a better product.

When you are helping to run a business where you are delivering a product or service, you must always keep the customer in mind. I constantly pose this question to myself, 'If I were an attorney seeking employment, would I use this service?' It is with this thought constantly in mind that I look for new and innovative ways to deliver a better customer experience.

Put quite simply, there is no real 'best part' of my job. I feel that I have one of the best jobs one could hope for. I help people."
What is he known for professionally? Gordon said:
"I am known as a business-minded attorney. I not only look for ways to work within the traditional law practice paradigm, I constantly look for alternative approaches. In the law, actions are based on precedence. It takes a very talented attorney to look beyond precedence in order to truly deliver something more.

I am known as someone who absolutely hates constraints. I believe that if you work within the limited confines of one approach or mistake precedent as something truly limiting you will never challenge yourself to do more. That is what I always seek to do, be innovative and look for what 'more' I can do than others.

For lack of a better turn of phrase, I think outside of the box. More so than this, I constantly question the existence of any such 'box.' I believe that most businesses fail or never come to fruition because of the general fear of taking risks.

Risk taking is something that I am always open to, albeit with adequate reason to take such a risk. Richard Branson has taken many risks throughout his career and has seen much success from taking risks that no one else would. It's identifying the risk worth taking and then jumping in. In an economy such as ours, where the first innovation wins out, that practically REQUIRES us to take risks.

To summarize the above: I always keep business and opportunity in mind. I work outside the limiting paradigms and seek new opportunities by taking on different perspectives. I am a risk taker."
What area of the law is Gordon most passionate about? "Business law and working with start-ups."

Is there an area of practice he would like to develop further into? "Working with security law and larger IPOs."

What does Gordon think about the law field today? He acknowledged:
"I believe that the legal field is in a state of rapid change. The jobs of yesterday are fewer today and the jobs of today will not be similar to the ones of tomorrow. With the advent of LegalZoom and other online legal services sites, and the contracting legal market, new attorneys today will have to innovate to become the attorneys of the future. Innovation is crucial and necessary in order to survive as practitioner.

I also believe that the law field is shifting, billable hours will soon see a notable decrease, and more attorneys will find that the market requires a different approach and a different mindset to succeed."
If he weren't a lawyer, what would he probably be doing? "To be honest, I am not certain. In all likelihood, I would be doing something quite similar to what I am doing right now. Business and working with people has always piqued my interest, so if I were not an attorney I would still be pursuing my business aspirations, just in a different manner."

Where does Gordon see himself in five years? He noted:
"I see myself helping this company grow and eventually pursuing other Corporate Development opportunities with some of our sister companies. I also have a lot of ideas (as in other companies) that I would like to have the opportunity to pursue with Harrison in the future. But honestly, I would love to continue working as an Employment Advocate no matter what other opportunities may present themselves in the future. I truly feel a great satisfaction in helping others, and Legal Authority is a perfect vehicle for that."
What motivates him to work with Legal Authority? Gordon said he has a real connection with people. He laughs; share stories, and individuals discuss their personal experience in the job market with him. "Even if candidates don't work with Legal Authority, they benefit from the services I provide. Every day, there are new ideas and challenges. I never think there is a dull moment working for Legal Authority because I don't know what's in store for me."

How does Gordon want to be remembered? "I want to be remembered as an innovator. I also want to be remembered as a person who solves problems and works towards achieving my goals. Steve Jobs and Richard Branson took risks as innovators. I think it's great to be called an innovator because there are new and exciting ideas to implement."

Gordon's Second Business Venture, Working at Nordstrom and Serving with the U.S. Army?

After gaining access to discounted parts and other services, Gordon began selling cars for nearly a year. How was this experience? He revealed:
"This experience was incredibly exciting. It was the first time that I identified a market that was un-tapped and was able to capitalize on it.

The biggest lesson I learned from running Sattro Automotive was that when you are doing something that you love, the time invested becomes irrelevant.

I was able to work in a field that I still love to this day, automotive sales and repair, and made great money in doing so. This was also an opportunity to further hone my skills in customer service. It was a lot of work finding each car worth selling and then preparing it for sale, but it provided me with the satisfaction of knowing that the business was mine."
Gordon then worked at Nordstrom in the Women's Shoes department. What did he learn from this experience? He asserted:
"First, let me say that Nordstrom is the absolute pinnacle of customer service. The training that each Nordstrom employee goes through, and the constant coaching that is delivered, is truly what sets this company apart, especially for managers.

Prior to Nordstrom, I knew about customer service, but I soon learned that what I knew was not adequate to become a Nordstrom employee. After going through a training process I quickly learned that the standard of service required to work at Nordstrom was much more, and that training continued through my development with the company.

What every sales person and manager truly learns from Nordstrom is how to properly provide customer service to each and every individual you come across, and the Nordstrom approach to customer service is something that changes all of its quality and full-time employees personally as well. When you go through FNL (Future Nordstrom Leader) courses at Nordstrom you learn about the business side of Nordstrom and also the personal side.

What I learned is that quality customer service is what keeps customers coming back. A superior product helps as well, but it is the service and the overall 'experience' that makes the real difference."
What did he learn from serving with the U.S. Army? Gordon declared:
"In the Army, I learned many things. More than I could possibly list. But it boils down to a few things:
  1. Discipline: Prior to my experience in the Army I was disciplined in some aspects of my life and undisciplined in others. In the Army you are taught how to live a disciplined life, both in and out of uniform. It taught me that you are representing the Army with every action you take and in every interaction you have. Learning this made me a better citizen and much more conscious of all of my actions. It taught me that every action you take is a representation of yourself, and you must act as how you wish yourself to be perceived rather than who you are.
  2. Delegation of duties: At Nordstrom and with the MUN, I would delegate tasks, but I would keep a majority of the work for myself. In the Army, you must learn how to delegate tasks. As an officer, your duties are to plan and guide a unit to the mission's completion, but you do not execute. The non-commissioned officers in the Army are also known as the back-bone of the Army, and they have the task of ensuring your orders are carried out. Putting my faith in my NCOs and maintaining a willingness to delegate such tasks was my biggest challenge, and a lesson I still apply today.
  3. Pride: You must take pride in what you do. In order to execute a mission, you must be proud of who you are and what you are doing. I took this realization (which is not a part of general officer training) to heart, and I still believe in this today. You must be proud of the work you do in order to perform to a higher standard.
  4. Performing to a higher standard: Finally, I learned that you must always push yourself to perform to a higher standard. This means that you should always strive to do more. There is never enough practice, and you must always continue to work to become better. If you stop holding yourself to a higher standard you will never be able to achieve more than you did the day before."
President of The Model United Nations, Working for an Entertainment Law Firm and The National Guard Legal Assistance, Establishing Dangerous Ideas Media and Applying for an Employment Advocate Position at Legal Authority

During Gordon's time at Cal State Fullerton, he became the President of the Model United Nations. What did he learn from this experience? Gordon acknowledged:
"I learned many things as President of Cal State Fullerton's MUN team, but the most important thing I learned was clarity in communication and negotiation.

Communicating an idea or a perspective is incredibly important when you are negotiating an agreement between nations. In the United Nations, you must stand before the committee and make a presentation multiple times throughout a conference. At times these presentations can arise quickly and without notice, as a result, you must always be prepared to discuss the subject matter and make valid and well-informed points, all while maintaining your composure. As a result of the MUN, I have done this hundreds of times.

Negotiation requires one to look at the other side and understand their interests and concerns. Because of this, you must have an in-depth knowledge of their inner workings. During my time with the MUN, I learned how to research and address this in a manner that would seem (to the other side at least) that they were gaining the upper hand, when in reality our negotiations and the resolution we agreed upon were according to my delegation's terms.

The biggest challenge was conveying this knowledge to all the delegates at CSUF. I developed a series of slide shows and practical exercises in order to better train them, and continually refined my approach after each competition. It required the utmost attention to the group's interest and abilities and allowed me to further develop as a leader and a communicator."
Gordon had two internships with an entertainment law firm and then he worked with the National Guard Legal Assistance. How did he have time to do this while attending law school? Gordon said:
"Ha ha ha! My first response to this is always, 'through a lot of coffee (espresso shots) and very little sleep.'

In reality though, it was through time management. I created an Excel spreadsheet that essentially planned every moment of everyday for both of those semesters. It took the lessons that I learned from both the Army and my time as a manager at Nordstrom and applied it to my personal life. There were windows of time for each action throughout the day, whether it was sleeping and eating or driving and working. It was all planned well in advance."
During law school, he helped set-up a production company called Dangerous Ideas Media, where he served as the COO. What did Gordon learn from this experience? "I learned about what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry. Or perhaps, how much it takes. I put the company together with a couple friends from USC. We had a product and an approach to creating online content that no one has really done before."

Gordon responded to an ad online seeking an attorney for an employment advocate position. He saw this as an opportunity to work for a company that was established by an attorney, Harrison Barnes. How does it feel to work with Mr. Barnes at Legal Authority? Gordon expressed:
"Working for Harrison (or Mr. Barnes) is a true honor.
  1. He is always open to new ideas. Harrison is probably the most receptive boss/superior/CEO I have ever have had the privilege of working for. There are many places that operate on a strict hierarchical structure where if you have an idea you must send it through the appropriate channels in order to be heard. In contrast, Harrison has a clear open-door policy. If you have an idea or a new approach to a service, he wants to hear it. It is truly refreshing to have a superior that is so open to new approaches that he allows anyone to propose ideas to him.
  2. He is more than happy to share his experience and mentor you while in uncharted waters. There are some aspects of my current position at Legal Authority that are new and different from anything that I have done before and if I have a question, in all likelihood, Harrison will answer it before I ask. He is great at providing guidance and support when it's needed.
  3. He is very down to earth. I remember prior to interviewing with him, I had read a majority of his materials online. After hours of reading, I thought I knew who he really was, but I was entirely wrong. Harrison is a funny and very 'real' person. He will joke when it's appropriate and also being quite frank with you if it's necessary. In truth, it is quite refreshing to have a boss like him."
Gordon's Mentor, Pro Bono Work and His Goals

Does Gordon have a mentor? He said Evan Michael Hess is his mentor. While Gordon was President of the Phi Alpha Delta Sammis chapter, Michael served as the District Justice for all chapters. After both men graduated from law school, they went on to practice together. Michael exposed Gordon to civil litigation.

Does Gordon handle pro bono work? "I work with soldiers consistently and provide them guidance when it is required. I have done pro-bono work on a litany of different issues and always enjoying helping those soldiers who are in need."

What are his professional and personal goals? "My immediate plans with Legal Authority are to work on its website so I can help law students who are seeking a job. I plan on expanding my services and I will provide a hub for everybody. I plan on creating an online career service office for law students. I also plan on expanding different aspects of the legal market for people as well as companies." As for his personal goals, Gordon would love to have a family and children. He would also enjoy traveling and seeing more of the world.

published December 02, 2013

By Follow Me on
( 42 votes, average: 4.3 out of 5)
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