Phil Vaughns – Podcast Transcript
[00:00:00] Louis Goodman: Welcome to Love Thy Lawyer where we talk to practicing attorneys about their lives in and out of the practice law. I’m Louis Goodman, the host of the show, and yes, I’m a lawyer. Nobody’s perfect
Louis Goodman: He is a former Federal Prosecutor and a former Alameda County Deputy District Attorney. He has experience prosecuting and defending state and federal criminal cases, as well as federal immigration cases.
He has tried numerous cases to verdict and zealously represents his clients. Phil Vaughns welcome to Love Thy Lawyer.
Phil Vaughns: Thank you for inviting me. I appreciate it.
Louis Goodman: Well, it’s great to have you. I’m really honored that you’ve joined us. You know, the first time that I remember battling with you was when you were a Federal Prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney. We had a case that [00:01:00] ultimately my client had to get Johnny Cochran involved in order to finally get the result that we needed.
Phil Vaughns: I’m sure I folded my cards when he arrived.
Louis Goodman: Yeah. But not when I was there. Where are you from originally?
Phil Vaughns: I was born in Oakland and interestingly enough, even though I was born in Oakland, I played football for Skyline High School and a lot of the guys that I played with went to Cal State Hayward. And so like a dummy, I followed them to Cal State Hayward. And when I got to the DA’s office, the first case I was assigned was a guy who exposed himself at Cal State Hayward. And I thought, shucks, I’ll never leave the Bay area. It didn’t turn out that way.
But that’s what I thought.
Louis Goodman: You really completed the circle. Well let’s just start there at the high school. Was it Skyline? You said yes, sir. And you played ball there at Skyline and then. How was that experience of going to school at Skyline High School?
Phil Vaughns: Well interesting, because I live next to Oakland Tech and I got bussed [00:02:00] kind of, so it was a time when I first saw falling snow on the bus going to Skyline.
And first I guess, saw how life was lived on the other side of the Hill. So it was instructive. I liked it, but it was certainly an eye opener in many respects.
Louis Goodman: That’s interesting. The busing thing. Was that something that you and your parents applied for was to be able to go to Skyline? Or was that something that the district just assigned you?
Phil Vaughns: That’s a good question. I don’t remember for certain, I don’t think there was anything affirmative, so to speak that my family did. I think it may have just been a policy too, say, integrate, but certainly diversify the schools. But I don’t think it’s anything that we opted for it. I knew I just got up and got on the 15 bus and ended up in a whole different world.
Louis Goodman: What did you do when you graduated from Skyline. You said you went to Cal State Hayward?
Phil Vaughns: Yes. I wouldn’t say it’s a decision I regret, but it’s certainly one that I didn’t think about. I mean, I played football, they [00:03:00] played football, they went there and I followed them. In retrospect, I guess I should have probably thought about my long-term career goals and maybe pick someplace it might’ve been more appropriate, but it is what it is. And that’s where I went.
Louis Goodman: Your office is in Hayward. Now.
Phil Vaughns: It is at further completing that circle you talked about, right?
Louis Goodman: Right. Well, how did you like being in Hayward for college?
Phil Vaughns: I loved it. It was 19 minutes from my home in Oakland to Hayward. And so to that extent, always being an efficient person, we have a, Hey, this isn’t that bad rather than going to Stanford across the Bay or some other place in another state I’m in and out in 19 minutes.
Louis Goodman: When did you start thinking about going to law school?
Phil Vaughns: My mother threatened to kill me. She told me, look, you got to be professional something and it’s not going to a professional fishermen. And so I thought, Oh, well, how long is med school? How long has law school was the shortest amount of time to get her off my back?
So when was that? I was told this is what you’re going to be, are going to be professionals. And I chose law somewhere around then only because it was the, [00:04:00] the shortest path to getting my freedom.
Louis Goodman: So that was while you were in college?
Phil Vaughns: Yes. Surely leaving high school and going to college. It was, it was pretty much impressed upon me.
If I wanted to live past 25, I needed to be a professional something. And so I would say then is when I started by being a lawyer. Sorry to think about it. Right.
Louis Goodman: Did you go to law school right after college?
Phil Vaughns: I don’t think I would have been able to survive law school. Had I had a break from studying.
Louis Goodman: Where did you go to law school?
Phil Vaughns: McGeorge in Sacramento and in large part only because they had the highest bar passage rate the year I was applying. And I thought, if I’m going to do this, I want to get something out of it. And then when I could think of getting was not just a degree, but a license to give me a lot by my mom and my grandmother, something to hang on their walls, where I then became a fisherman.
Louis Goodman: How did you like being in law school? How was McGeorge, what was that experience like?
Phil Vaughns: It was interesting, man. I mean, I don’t know how many other. [00:05:00] Law students/ lawyers every remember back when somebody says, as a teacher look to the left, look to the right, one of those folks is not going to be here by the time we’re done.
They told us that. And I took that as a challenge. And whereas it did not sit that I, I might not have graduated yet. I thought, you know, this is just not me. I’m not being true to what I really want to do screw this. But once it became a challenge, Oh, no, it’s not to beat me. It’s this kid on my right cat on my left may be getting out of here, but I’m here for the long haul.
So I’m kind of glad they said that at the time it was a relatively new school. So all the facilities were brand spanking new. They had a courtroom where the future was really. Inspiring too, to go there. It was in the middle of, it’s still in the middle of Oak Park in Sacramento, where you got squirrels and homeless folks all the time, which was always entertaining to me at lunch, but it was definitely a matter of going to a school where it was like this Island of technology and innovation and across the street was a park.
That was more my speed. So I fit in quite well up there. I liked being up there. I think they [00:06:00] had great teachers and I formed good relationships. So I enjoyed it.
Louis Goodman: What was your first legal job out of school?
Phil Vaughns: Interesting. My first legal job out of school was one I got through Mc George’s LLM program.
They had an LLM program that had several facets. One was taxation, which I couldn’t even spell. And the other was international trade and finance. I said, well, screw it. I don’t have a job lined up, like most of my colleagues. So that LLM program placed you in a firm. As I said, I’ll try that. And where they placed me was a firm in Vienna, Austria, which at the time was the largest law firm in the Austrian and headlight for lawyers.
So that was my first legal job.
Louis Goodman: How long did you live there?
Phil Vaughns: I was there this program for six months and then the firm invited me to stay for another year and a half or so. So I was there two years.
Louis Goodman: Did you learn to speak some German?
Phil Vaughns: I took German in school earlier because my mother, the Saint that she had told me, look, if you like animals, you need to [00:07:00] learn German.
I have no idea where she got that from, but I had some German classes based on that belief that she gave me. So it wasn’t completely foreign to me. I never, I was never fluent enough to go out and do much other than the order of McDonald’s. Big Mac or something, as they call it. But I was, I’m not totally unfamiliar with the language.
Louis Goodman: How did it feel being an American in Austria at the time? And you know, more specifically an African American young man in a place where there’s not a lot of Americans, not a lot of African Americans.
Phil Vaughns: Good question. First thing, I had to learn how to cut my own hair because there weren’t a whole lot of brothers over there to do that.
So I had to learn to cut my own hair with a mirror and a shaver. And secondly, I became friends with some itinerant workers there. One guy was from Pakistan, another guy was from Sudan and they were like newspaper [00:08:00] sellers. And so, because we were so rare minorities. We kind of bonded. So every day I’d go to a gym and I’d take the train.
And it’s top of the station where my, my brothers were so to speak. And we’d talk about various things and it did several things. To me, it made me recognize that there are minorities who are linked in ways that sometimes they don’t understand fascinating.
Louis Goodman: And I guess that was certainly a lot different than being in Oakland
Phil Vaughns: miles apart.
Louis Goodman: Yeah. So after you left Vienna, where did you go?
Phil Vaughns: I worked for a civil firm in San Francisco called Copp DeFranco. Quintin Copp was, I think it was a, certainly a lawyer obviously, but I think he ended up becoming a Judge in San Mateo County and Tom to Franklin was his partner real cool guy from Nevada.
So I did civil work there for a while, but I ended up finding myself, reading all the advance sheets, you know, and for the purpose of staying up on civil law, but finding myself drawn to [00:09:00] the facts of most of the criminal cases.
Louis Goodman: When did you go over into the criminal justice world?
Phil Vaughns: 1990, I had gotten a job at the DA’s office in large part because I had been advised that in order to keep doing international trade and finance, I needed to go to a firm that did that kind of work. And those kinds of firms, big, law firms didn’t hire from McGeorge. Although they may hire a person with litigation experience. So I thought, okay, how do I get litigation experience? Unless it goes to the DA’s office and what the hell is the DA’s knowledge of what the heck the DA’s office was. But I got advice from some important, well, I think special people, Marty Jenkins and Judge Gloria Rhynes took me to dinner one time and said, you know, you should really think about being a DA, because if you want litigation experience, trust me, you’ll get it there. And you’ll also be doing some good. And I thought, okay, well, once I figured out what the DA’s office does, I’ll put my name in.
So I came to it, not because he was a calling, but because it was a means to an end, so to speak.
Louis Goodman: So you joined the Alameda County DA’s office in [00:10:00] 1990. What did you start doing there?
Phil Vaughns: Well, like I said, my first case was a guy who had exposed himself at Cal State Hayward. And rather than run out of the office, screaming at that point, I said, Hey, you know what?
You can run, but you can’t hide apparently. So I was doing misdemeanor trials initially.
Louis Goodman: How did you like that?
Phil Vaughns: It was learning on the fly. I mean, I liked the aspect of closing argument. I liked summarizing things, I guess that’s a personality trait of mine. So I liked that aspect of trying cases.
Getting through the mundane and getting to the flourish. But you know, you learn that you don’t get a good flourish unless you deal with the mundane stuff first. So, I mean, it was kind of a reverse engineering situation for me, but I enjoyed the heck out of it. I enjoyed for the first time since playing football, being part of a team.
Louis Goodman: Do you have any particular mentors in the DA’s office?
Phil Vaughns: Ken Burr. Burr, as they [00:11:00] say, literally could convict the ham sandwich and then I love watching him do this thing. I can’t overstate how important it was to have seen somebody like him do his work. And I will give you one example of how he affected me.
I watched him try some case and I went through the sentencing. Of course he won everything I ever watched him try. Anyway, that sentencing, he told the judge, look judge, And I forget what his judging was. He said that this case was worth X in pretrial, just cause we’ve gone to trial. I think it’s still worth X.
He didn’t give the guy trout tax kind of thing. And I remember one of my federal trials, I told the judge the same thing. I said, one of my mentors once took the position that there should not be a trial tax and I like him, but this case was worth exit, pretrial, whatever. And I still think is that That’s how much the man, in fact, many years later, I repeated a line that he had used.
So I really found him to be a great mentor. I found people who were very, very close to me in that office. [00:12:00] and some other folks who have stayed with me from that point forward. So I deeply value that experience, not just from the professional, but also from the personal as well.
Louis Goodman: After the DA’s office, where did you go?
Phil Vaughns: U.S. Attorney’s Office in large part?
Because I had done the kind of a circuit in the DA’s office where you do misdemeanor trials, you do the preliminary examinations, you do felony trials and you start over again. And at that point I was kind of at the point of starting over again, which I didn’t really. Didn’t look forward to it because I had only come there as I mentioned for a steppingstone, it was going to go somewhere else. It’s something I was never going to be my landing point, but it tended to become that over time. And so around the same time that I was going to start repeating of the cycle, there was an opening in the United States Attorney’s Office, the local attorney’s office.
I’m distinguishing it between San Francisco. I would never go into San Francisco, but there was an opening in the Oakland U.S. Attorney’s Office. And I thought that’s interesting. It’s not international trade [00:13:00] and finance, but it is another step maybe towards that direction. It’s federal, it may be some trial work, so it sounded interesting.
And so I went for it.
Louis Goodman: How did you enjoy that experience?
Phil Vaughns: Not as much. There’s a lot of politics involved. There are a lot of decisions that are made that were made for reasons that I didn’t always agree with, there was not the same level of a camaraderie there that I would have become used to in the DA’s office.
It was interesting. I met a lot different people that I would probably have never met in any other contexts. So in that sense, I have to look at it as valuable, but I can’t say I enjoyed it as much as the DA’s office.
Louis Goodman: Now how long were you at the U.S. attorney?
Phil Vaughns: Another five years. So like 2000.
Louis Goodman: And what did you do then?
I opened my own shingle in large part because the U.S. Attorney who had hired me, Mike Yamaguchi had left and actually Bob Mueller, the U.S. Attorney at the [00:14:00] time. And after that became FBI head. And after that became most recently a figurehead on TV, the Mueller report and all that. He came into the office and had a policy where all those folks who were in San Francisco had to at some point go to Oakland.
And those in Oakland had to go to San Francisco. And I was not going to go to San Francisco and after I hate San Francisco, but I don’t. I don’t like San Francisco. And so I was not going to go there.
Louis Goodman: You’re from Oakland.
Phil Vaughns: I mean, there is a thing over here, so I did not want to do that.
So I thought, okay, maybe this is like the tumbleweed that I am a time to shift, focus and go a different directions. So I hung up my own shingle and that’s kind of where I’ve been ever since.
Louis Goodman: What sort of work do you primarily do now?
Phil Vaughns: I would say that it varies, but currently it’s probably like 60% immigration and 40% criminal other times has been more 90 10, 75, 25, but it varies.
[00:15:00] But those are the two main disciplines, I guess, that I engage in.
Louis Goodman: What do you like about practicing law? Because it sounds like you’re someone who has had some interesting jobs and you’ve been practicing for quite a while on your own. So obviously there must be something you like about it.
Phil Vaughns: You know, I like helping people. It sounds trite, but I like people coming back and say, Hey, thanks for whatever. Whatever you just did made whatever existed before better. And that’s pretty much. I wouldn’t say it’s all the things I need. And I mean, I’d like to get paid of course, like everybody else, but I actually am a poor businessman and I value helping people.
And I guess on some level being acknowledged for that too, as being what I like about it, I don’t like losing anything. So I am like, Loss as a concept, which, you know, in immigration, you lose a lot. So there’s any criminal defense too, I guess, for most of us, not stars like you, of course, but the rest of us, we lose a lot part of it.
But I do [00:16:00] like the occasional time when somebody says, hey man, thank you for that. And I, that will keep me on cloud nine for a long time.
Louis Goodman: If a young person were just graduating from Skyline High School or college would you recommend to a young person these days about thinking about a career in law?
Phil Vaughns: Yes. I hesitate a moment because I think the only proviso I would say is, I hope they give it more thought than I did, but yeah, I think it’s definitely a great choice.
Louis Goodman: Have you had a case that really went well.
Phil Vaughns: There’s a couple of things that I think went well and I don’t want to name the names, but in immigration court I had four cases at one point and at different times I should say, and they were two brothers and two sisters.
And surprisingly, I should say one, all four of those cases, I look back and say, there’s two families out there. They had to, children who basically won in immigration [00:17:00] court when the grant rate in immigration court is at best 25%. I mean, and asylum cases, it can be down to like 9%. So that’s 91% of your cases.
You’re going to lose in immigration court if you’re calling for an asylum defense. So I look back and say, I was really satisfied to look at two families where the two kids, it was one case, two brothers, another the case, two sisters. We were able to keep them all here in the country. I look back at that and be an adult and say that’s satisfying to me. I like that. I guess on another level, there was a guy I prosecuted in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He went to prison and came out, got into a car wreck and called me and said, Hey, man, I heard you’re in private practice. I thought I must have been doing at least a good job when his case, where he had to respect, I guess, or the, um, Admiration for whatever I had done for him to call me up to the first have known that I left the U.S. Attorney’s Office and then to have sought me out to represent him on a car wreck.
I was, I look back on that steel and [00:18:00] think I like that, that cheers me when there are times when I’m at all in that cheerful,
Louis Goodman: How is the practice of law? How has that either met or differed from your original expectations about it when you were going into it?
Phil Vaughns: I guess I would say it has exceeded my expectations in terms of the satisfaction I expected to have as a lawyer. I mean, when people tell me this worked out well for them or that some judge says you’re not getting life in prison, you’re getting this. Or you’re getting four years instead of 12. I mean, the satisfaction of being on a team of two, me and the client and winning something, at least from the standpoint of a lesser sitting.
So whatever would be a favorable outcome, the value that I underestimated. And I certainly. Cherish that as part of the practice of law that exceeded my expectations.
Louis Goodman: Do you think that the legal system is fair?
Phil Vaughns: No, [00:19:00] I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s fair, even though I think it’s the best system.
There can be human beings are not fair. I mean, it’s just, that’s just the nature of who we are as individuals. I remember we went to speaking of Vienna long time ago, the partner I worked for and I’ve stayed in contact. Even the best of people have bad days. And so when they have a bad day, they make a bad decision.
Somebody suffers for that. So it’s not fair, but I think it’s the best areas
Louis Goodman: . Let’s put it that if you could change something about the legal system, what would you change?
Phil Vaughns: Put robots in? Sorry, I don’t know how you can change it. I think it’s the best it can be. I mean, I was smarter folks than I have thought about that and have come to the conclusion that this is the best there is.
And I’m willing to accept that. I mean, Life is not fair. So the system is not fair.
Louis Goodman: Outside of practicing law. I know that you have some other things that you’re interested in. You’ve mentioned fishing several times already in this interview. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your fishing?
Phil Vaughns: You know, [00:20:00] I was taken fishing when I was probably a baby.
So I’ve always liked to fish and I’ve always liked catching a bigger fish in a bigger fish and a bigger fish and going places to catch bigger fish. And it’s interesting. Cause when I was a kid I’d like to catch fish and you put them on a string and take a picture. Then when I look what I caught now, it’s more of a catch and release situation where I can in my memory, look back on things and say, Hey, you know, I caught this right.
Caught that. I mean, especially like Marlin fishing, big game fishing.
Louis Goodman: Where have you gone to do that kind of fishing.
Phil Vaughns: New Zealand, Panama, a lot, Mexico, Costa Rico, lot of places. I mean, I’ve gone to some places where you had to take a boat, a plane, a helicopter, and a dugout canoe to get to go fishing at times.
So it’s definitely an obsession, but it’s, it’s kind of morphed into more of a memory-based [00:21:00] as opposed to a killing fish sort of thing, which I was into when I was a kid, I shucked I would hold a lot of fish up, but as you get older and maybe we’d be more regretful focus on the memories when you, I had a fish and I don’t like, you know, fighting fish from a chair.
It’s just like, it’s just not sporty to me. Four or 500 comrades and standing up, stand up gear and get it to the side of the boat, tag it and release it. That’s satisfying. I like that aspect of say, you know, this day I was better. My notch we’re good. My line was good, but it was good. I was good. The official loss, but we both walk away.
You do it up again tomorrow or the next day or whatever. That is much more satisfying to me nowadays than anything else. Okay.
Louis Goodman: What venue have you gone to that you really thought was a great place to fish?
Phil Vaughns: Panama. I love that place. I mean, it’s, it’s, I wouldn’t call it home. I don’t live in a jungle, but I really feel at peace.
There’s this place called Tropic Star in the middle of [00:22:00] the jungle in Panama’s. Right. Not too far from the Colombian border. And it is just an Oasis to me. I mean, you go there and you feel relaxed, which you also feel as relaxed as you can, as a fighter, get ready to go into a 12 round heavyweight championship fight the next day.
It’s like you feel comfortable, you feel ready to do battle. Very interesting field. I just enjoy being there. I enjoy the process of getting there. It’s just a very, I would call it Holy, but it’s a very meaningful place to me.
Louis Goodman: You also do some snowboarding isn’t that right?
Phil Vaughns: Once or twice? One of my good friends, I’m happy to say was a loyal enough friend to invite me to his home up there in the Alpine Village. So it was a lot of fun doing that. And I’m not as coordinated as I used to be when I was playing. I try not to fall as much as I used to snowboarding. I’m not jumping around. Like I used to cause I broke my back doing that one, but I do enjoy that.
I haven’t gone [00:23:00] as much as I have wanted, but I definitely liked that as well.
Louis Goodman: If you weren’t a lawyer, is there some other job or profession that would interest you?
Phil Vaughns: That’s a good question. I mean, I don’t think I could make a living being a deck hand on the fishing boat, but that would be the first thing that would come to mind.
It’s funny, you mentioned that because I signed up to be a lawyer’s in the library, volunteer at the open senior center a couple of years ago. And if it was before COVID every Thursday, I have to take it back to the second Thursday of every month. And I actually look forward to that. It’s a bunch of old folks who just really want to be heard.
So you sit there in your shirt and your tie and your laptop and you listen to folks go on and on about what their lives are like and how you can help them. And normally it’s a matter of me saying here, can we look this up or here’s a number call. These people are here. Here’s a form you should fill out.
And they’re so happy to have this interaction with people, sign up, you know, all the time I get my [00:24:00] regulars there and they just want to come in and talk about it. They phrase it in terms of the legal problem. And it really, I know they just want to talk.
Louis Goodman: Have you ever had a near death experience, really dangerous thing?
Phil Vaughns: Some stuff from childhood. I probably don’t want to talk about, but there was a time when I was coming back from the Farallon Islands in a small boat. I had a 21-foot Grady White at one point, it’s a good boat, but I had come back from fishing out there and that time of day I was following some other party, but some party boats, right.
I have a little boat, they were party boats, commercial fishing boats, and we’re all going back the same direction. Of course, one point they all turned left as opposed to continuing straight through the golden gate. And at the time I was, this was like in the nineties. So I was not as experienced. It was fishing from my own boat around here as I am now.
I didn’t know why they turned left. I said, well, screw it. They must be headed somewhere up North. I’m going back to the dock. So I kept straight and then I quit. Well I realized why they had turned because there’s [00:25:00] a spot called potato patch out there where the wind and the waves and the current tend to be almost opposite forces to one another.
And here you go. I looked around and I saw the cliffs right there by a point we needed and thought, you know what? I’m never going to be on dry land again. I’m going to be swamped out here because I can’t keep up with the waves. You got to speed up to catch the front of one wave and then slow down to get from being pitched over on the backside of the same way.
And I realized I was not going to be able to keep up with that. I mean, I was doing okay at one point, but it was a constant throttling up throttling back, turning the face this way, trying to face that way. But I kept thinking, you know, at one time I’m going to miscalculate and I’m going to go down inside of land.
And I’ll never see those cliffs again. I consider that a near death experience and I’m talking to you now. It didn’t kill me obviously, but I felt that, you know, my time was up and I thought, you know what? If I’ve got to go, this is the way to go. I don’t know why they’re doing what I like to do. I’m alone, always going with me.
And if I got to go, Hey, it’s spending patterns. You [00:26:00] get out of it. Good question. I don’t know what, I just kept up with the waves until I got closer into the shore with God, a little bit less turbulent, but I was continually thinking the next wave is going to take me. Okay. I got past that, the next one going to get me.
Okay. Then the next it’s good to be. I just kept taking the ways one-on-one believing that I was at one point going to miscalculate. I didn’t, I don’t know who was looking over me that day, but I made it
Louis Goodman: what keeps you up at night ?
Phil Vaughns: Missing deadlines, which I don’t, but I am in constant fear that I do.
I wake up three o’clock and say, Oh no, it’s next week or next month. I mean, especially in immigration court where you’ve got such far out deadlines, I mean, you have cases that were sick today. Your next date is 2025. While you got Carla dates were before that 20, 25 hearing, do you have to file certain documents in advance of the hearing, which itself is going to be three years [00:27:00] away.
And so you got to really be good scheduler, so to speak. And I’m not a bad scheduler, but I know that I’m not, I know I’m human. And so there are times when I think, Oh, that’s what about so and so. Oh, no, no relax, go to sleep. You know, that’s next year criminal where, you know, you can even, without writing things down, you can know when things are apt to be, do that when you do the being in court.
Cause they’re not that far out, but in immigration court, there is so many years it can pass between your having said X, Y, Z, and in court day one. And your next day being years out in the future with intervening deadlines is easy to put them on your back burner. Cause they’re so far out. But every now and then you realize, well, that back burner is kind of closer than I thought now, because a year has passed and I got two more years, but I should start doing work on it. I haven’t yet, but I’ve been close.
Louis Goodman: What if you came into some real money, couple of billion dollars, three, $4 billion [00:28:00] fell into your lap. What, if anything, would you change in your life?
Phil Vaughns: I’d probably spend all my time doing what I do with the old folks, or just talking to the old timers every Thursday, every other Thursday, I would do something like that and just not have to work, but do something in the line of work that I could do with, with more freedom, but sometimes I have to cancel my Thursdays whenever they start up again, I’ll have to say, well, you know, I got court on Thursday. I can’t do it. Well, let’s put it on Friday. I can say no problem. Whenever you have enough people, sign them up. I’ll come in and sit there and talk.
If I didn’t have to work, I would probably do that. And with the rest of the money I would have after not having to pay after having paid bills and everything else. You know, I probably try to do something for some terrible the organization to say, not just give them money, but to say, what do you need?
You need a building, I’ll buy you a building rather than trust that the money you give them to a charitable organization, it’s going to actually be spent. [00:29:00] Doing something concrete as opposed to things that are not often seen, I’d rather see what I’m going to be donating to. So if you need a football field, let’s build it.
If you need this, let’s do it. If you need water in Africa, here is I’m a build a pipeline. I would like to do something concrete, not to put my name on it, like, like some people, but just to say, Hey, this is something that, that, that money that fell in my lap has transformed itself into something concrete money is transitory comes and goes.
But if you build something, hopefully it’s going to be much more stable and much longer lasting than money, which can come and go.
Louis Goodman: If you had a magic wand, you could change one thing in the world, legal world or otherwise, what would that be?
Phil Vaughns: Wow, that’s a good question. It sounds trite, but I would probably say that like Ellen DeGeneres, she said be kind to one another.
I would say that I don’t care what you believe and you can be a Democrat or Republican. You can be whatever you want to be. In your head, but if you’re kind to people, I really don’t care what you are or what the hell you think.
[00:30:00] Louis Goodman: Phil Vaughns . Thank you so much for joining me today on Love Thy Lawyer. It’s been really interesting talking to you.
I’ve certainly found out some new things about you, and I’m very happy to know those things. And I hope to see you soon. Once some of this craziness is all over.
Phil Vaughns: It says, Love Thy Lawyer. And even after listening to what I have to say,
Louis Goodman: That’s it for today’s episode of Love Thy Lawyer. Many thanks to my guests who have contributed their time and wisdom and make the show.
Thanks as always to Joel Katz for music, Brian Matheson for technical support and Tracey Harvey.
I’m Louis Goodman.
Phil Vaughns – Podcast Transcript