Law & Music: His Persistence Pays Off
Photo by Tracy Doyle
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. ~ Plato
From the time Kaoru Suzuki was six years old and learning to play the violin, “lawyer” wasn’t even a blip on his “when I grow up, I want to be a…” radar.
In fact, Suzuki, today a member of the Corporate Transactions & Securities practice at Thompson Hine LLP, earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees in music at Rice University in Houston, and was a professional musician for four years before he decided to change his professional tune.
“I was working with a music and entertainment attorney as a part-time gig – he was a former musician himself – and we discussed how a career in law would be a good, more sustainable option for me, with a lot of transferable skills,” Suzuki recalls. He graduated from Boston College Law School in 2014 and worked as a corporate associate at another national law firm before joining Thompson Hine in 2017.
Clearly, those transferable skills have come in handy in making the music-to-law switch. Suzuki infuses his legal work with the same passion with which he embraces music, representing public and private companies in a variety of public and private security offerings and general corporate matters.
“Music taught me to be persistent, to get through things step by step, to not give up, and to be patient with myself and others,” Suzuki says. “I also think when you’re working on something you’re passionate about, it teaches you that not everyone shares your same vision, and that’s OK.”
Music also taught him the importance and necessity of accepting other people’s opinions about certain things and working with them in a productive, efficient way, Suzuki notes.
“Working closely with other musicians in several groups brought that to light very quickly. We’d spend hours and hours together in the same room, every day. Collaboration and compromise are two skills I use quite often in my law career.”
As a Thompson Hine associate, Suzuki advises startup companies across various industries on all aspects of being a startup, including drafting incorporation documents, assisting in fund raising transactions, reorganizations and recapitalizations, and eventually on
becoming a public reporting company if that is a viable option. He also advises public companies in registered public offerings, private placements and registered direct offerings.
“I find working with my startup clients to be exciting because I get exposure to up-and-coming technologies, and also get to work with people who are extremely motivated and very driven,” Suzuki says. “It’s a very fast-paced space to be in. You have to be that kind of person to enjoy it.”
Outside of his law practice, Suzuki enjoys his role as a board member and treasurer of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and he rarely misses a performance.
“I have been able to keep music a significant part of my life,” Suzuki adds. “I may not be performing with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, but I am making sure it’s successful and inspiring people. I’ve found a good balance.”
Suzuki, reflecting on his professional journey thus far, says he has no regrets regarding his career path change.
“I think I had reached the point where I was ready to plunge in a different direction. People from time to time have to evaluate where they are, look at what they want to accomplish in the future and take stock of whether that is feasible from where they are. It was just time for me to explore something else. I love working with my Thompson Hine colleagues and my work as an attorney with a lot of different businesses in industries of various forms. It’s been great!”
Thompson Hine’s Cincinnati office is located at 312 Walnut St., 14th Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit www.thompsonhine.com.