Puget Sound Business Journal Conducts Q&A with Alan Merkle
The Puget Sound Business Journal recently published a Q&A with Stoel Rives firm chair Alan Merkle. In the article, Merkle discussed his previous career as an engineer and manager at General Electric Company, his decision to attend law school and his subsequent rise from first-year associate to firm chair.
On choosing the law as a profession: "When I was graduating from law school, GE offered me a bigger job in San Francisco or Houston. I realized if I was going to have any control over my destiny, I had to make a change. I was convinced there were customers and companies who could use a lawyer who really understood the business. So I took the plunge and became a first-year associate for Stoel Rives."
On deciding to focus his practice on renewable energy: "The firm had always been heavily involved in electrical energy. In 2003, a group of us decided to do some strategic planning around what we thought the future of the energy business would be in the United States…. And so we set about learning how to be skilled at helping to develop renewable energy before a lot of other folks were paying attention to it. Other firms are doing it now, but we clearly are still industry leaders and still represent the biggest and most successful developers."
On how his engineering background helps him serve his clients: "It helps me understand how to be most effective in assisting our clients with their complex questions. These are very large contracts when you buy [wind power] turbines – several hundreds of millions of dollars. So someone with experience in the industry gives us the tools to be effective counselors to our clients."
On how he finds time to accomplish his professional, civic and personal pursuits: "I stay focused on the things that matter. A lot of people have asked me how I manage my time. I say, "sleep is overrated."
"Questions for Alan Merkle, Chair, Stoel Rives" was published by The Puget Sound Business Journal, August 27, 2010.