Counsel, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp
Keys to Success
“My success as an attorney for the industry can be attributed, in part, to my having actually operated an alarm company. As a result, I have a good understanding of the problems and issues facing my industry clients. Also, Les Gold served initially as my mentor and has been my partner and dear friend for more than 35 years. I would like to be remembered as a person who cared deeply about the security industry and its mission. That I fostered and nurtured the proposition this industry’s primary goal is the protection of the lives and property of our customers, and not just the creation of recurring revenue.”
Most Memorable Moments
“Helping develop the Alarm Company Act in California was very memorable, as it was probably the first state to have comprehensive alarm industry regulation that was beneficial to the industry. Also, I was counsel in the transaction that created Protection One and helped them launch one of the industry’s first dealer programs. And we represented Vivint in its early stages and would like to think we helped them develop into a creditable and valued member of this industry. In addition, we were involved in several of the earliest transactions that brought traditional bank financing to the industry, which helped spur its growth.”
Gratification and Fulfillment
“It makes sense for an attorney to be active in the trade groups — it’s good for business. But also I believe participation gives back to the industry and clients. Providing legal services to the industry enables it to conduct its business in compliance with legal requirements that can be complex. The most satisfaction comes from doing a successful M&A transaction. Helping a seller realize the economic benefit of years of work and a buyer acquire accounts or a company that helps it grow and achieve an objective of its business plan, are both very rewarding. In a well done deal everyone is happy. That is particularly gratifying.”
Concern for Industry’s Legal Future
“It will take the law some time to catch up with the growing use of new technology such as GPS, PERS, video, etc., and the plethora of new service offerings the industry will offer in the future. The ability to send data directly to customers’ smartphones and let them be more involved in the actual provision of the services may create a greater risk of putting the customer in danger by reacting to a situation. As the industry grows and number of customers increase, and services broaden, more attention will be paid by regulators and consumer protection groups. The industry has enjoyed liability protection in its contracts for well over 60 years, but the more the industry grows the greater the probability of a horrific event triggering a negative change. The industry must take appropriate steps to ensure that the contracts it uses stay current with the products and services being provided. Changes in laws and regulations can render contract forms obsolete in a heartbeat.”
Why He’s Going Into the Hall
- Some 50 years’ of security industry service, most of it as one of the foremost legal experts, advisors, mergers and acquisitions specialists, and trade association participants
- Learned about the business during 10+ years with Morse Signal Devices, then the largest independent alarm company in the West, including as vice president and general manager from 1969-75
- Began legal career with SSI Hall of Famer Les Gold in 1975 and remained together through several different law firms until becoming associated with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp (MS&K) in 1993
- Counsel to many national and regional trade associations; security industry representation before many city councils and state agencies; assisted in state statutes and local ordinances; preparation of numerous consumer security contracts
- Principal author of California’s Alarm Company Act and represented California alarm industry to Public Utilities Commission, resulting in millions of dollars in phone service savings for the industry
- Representation of sellers and buyers in 280+ mergers and acquisitions ranging in size to in excess of $400 million; representation of business borrowers and lenders for financing agreements ranging in size to more than $100 million;
- Legal Committee chairman for Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), and frequent presenter at industry events and contributor to security publications, including serving on SSI’s Editorial Advisory Board
The Pepper File
- Born 1942 in New York
- One of two brothers, father was a chemical engineer and metallurgist involved in aviation; mother was homemaker and grassroots political activist
- Married to Tobi 49 years, daughter of Morse Signal Devices Co-founder Jack Weinstock, with one son and one daughter both successful in media-related fields, and two grandchildren
- Earned bachelor’s degree in management theory from UCLA in 1963, attended UCLA’s Anderson School of Business graduate program for one year, earned Juris Doctorate at San Fernando Valley College of Law in 1973
- Received California Alarm Association’s George A. Weinstock Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007
- Other interests include woodworking, golf, travel and photography
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