The Wise Novelist

Neil Ross – Another Old Friend

In 1987, I left the Wall Street law firm, Cahill Gordon & Reindell, and moved to the boutique entertainment law firm Gold Farrell & Marks. Over the next 13 years I met and worked with some of the coolest lawyers for some of the coolest clients. I’ve stayed in touch with many of them through the years. One, Mark Lafayette, made his way into TWA as the AUSA who puts Jimmy Moran in WITSEC, so we text and talk pretty regularly. We even grabbed breakfast at Eileen’s Kitchen on McLean Avenue shortly before I took off West.

Another, Marissa Bañez, is now a successful author with my publisher, so we remain in regular touch as well.

Over the years I have occasionally crossed paths on social media with others like Margo Scott, Howard Weller, Mark Diller, Gillian Lusins, Paula Guibault, Rob Margolis, Marna Brown, Debra Mayer, Londell McMillan, and Mark Eisenberg. ME even referred a case my way. Thanks ME. I remember ME on the day he interviewed at GFM. We were in Jane Stevens’ office. Mark glanced over at my right foot – then crossed over my left leg – spotted a hole peaking up just above my shoe line and deadpanned “nice socks!” I knew he was GF&M material.

When I first arrived at GF&M, Michael Kushner was just leaving to go in house in some music company. I think I took his office.

Let me not forget, Michael Manuelian, who played a haunting Debussy on Christine L’s piano one late night while we were working at Gold Farrell & Marks. Amy Lippman, Linda Yassky and Minna (Ferziger) Felig, lovely and brilliant attorneys all, also come to mind. Finally Nelson Bogart, who drove a Harley, and used to play horn for a lot of big name bands from the 70s. Late one night I heard the soulful sounds of his horn playing some doleful tune, echoing down the corridors. Nelson kept his horn in his desk drawer.

GF&M represented Apple Records, so it was only natural that we would attempt to reenact the Beatles Abbey Road photo. Left to right, that is Mark Diller, Bob Mulvey, me and Howard Weller. It was cold as fuck that day, and I was the barefoot boy. I’m pretty sure Debra Mayer took that photo. That’s Debra below. She was one of the smartest lawyers I have ever met.

That’s Madison Square Park in the background. I should have been back in the number three position where you find Bob Mulvey, but since it was so cold we only took one shot. And I think I was the only one willing to go barefoot, a last minute decision. However, given that Bob is the one who passed, it turns out he was in the right spot.

I guess that makes me Ringo. Fitting.

I got to meet Prince at his place in Minnesota on a business road trip with Londell McMillan. Prince, who was about to go on tour, performed a rehearsal concert that I got to sit in on. Magical. Thanks Londell.

Had coffee with Billy Joel during another road trip Alan Friedman took me along on. Billy was very cool. Thanks Alan.

Since those days I’ve even managed to work with one or two of the GF&M crew on common entertainment related matters, like Alan Friedman. Christine Lepera will pop up occasionally as well. I have exchanged greetings with Paul LiCalsi and Jane Stevens over the years. Brilliant lawyers all.

I was very close with Tom Farrell and Bob Mulvey, who have passed since the GF&M days. I miss them.

Have a great story involving dead Bob M taking control of my iPhone during a reading by a medium. It was quintessential Bob.

I was (and remain) in awe, generally, with the brilliance of the lawyers I worked with. But I was in love with camaraderie shared by the associates. I was a few years older than most of them, and came from a completely different background, but we bonded over shared experiences like food and group sunbathing in Madison Square Park and sneaking off to the pool hall on 18th street. We ran pools concerning the quirks and idiosyncrasies of some of the partners.

I also loved every member of the support staff. Each one of them was the best.

Top Row: Emile Lafond (an incredible musician), Delores (the receptionist and Den mother), Sandy (Jane S’s secretary), then Tina, Maria (both paralegals), and me and Rob Margolis. Front row: Jeff Okin and Mike Abramson (both paralegals who went on to be fine lawyers). It was snapped in the paralegal support room. Emile Lafond and Mike Abramson remained close friends and now both get a mention in WTLLM.

Not showing is another paralegal who I’ve recently reconnected with on FB, Bileni Teklu. And I just reconnected with Sandy Grancaric as well. But there were so many other wonderful people. I hope they reach out.

David Perkins was my assistant for a decade and made sure all my shit was done on time and looked good. He is now a professional therapist. I probably gave him lots of practice.

But in the small world department, yesterday took the prize. Neil Ross, who I believe now is head of business and legal affairs at Ultra Records, was, along with his lovely wife Marci, dropping their son, Hugo, at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Neil reached out the other day and we made arrangements to meet for lunch at The Hungry Toad.

It was great to see Neil. He was a big supporter of my screen writing while we were back at GF&M. He introduced me to a couple of producer friends and even invited me (and my oldest, Luke) to a premier of the movie, Posse, starring Mario Van Peebles. He was friends with the two brothers who produced that film.

It was at the only premier I’ve attended to date. I hope I get to do it again for my own books as films while I’m still on this side of the veil.

It really was strange meeting Neil in Boulder. But he was the same, sweet, funny guy that was part of the GF&M crew back then. It was great to see them all.

The time flew.

We grabbed that shot outside of the restaurant just as we were leaving. I’ve now been informed that the orb down around my knees is the spirit of a friend of Helena Lalousis’, a powerful psychic named Dee who reminded me of the tiny psychic in Poltergeist: Hey Dee!

I forgot to mention Bernie Yee, who was a friend of ours and also worked for a NY Minute at GF&M. Tracked him down in the Great Northwest. He is still racing bikes.

Well, the sun is rising so I have to get moving.

A kitty to cuddle and rounds to make.

But it is hump day. Let’s all look for Friday in the near distance from Wednesday’s peak.

And, my fine, five readers, let’s make today a great one.

11 Responses

  1. My sister is a paralegal . The lawyers she works for would never give a shout out to the paralegals in their office. I know there’s a lot more to this blog than that, but good for you for appreciating your support staff.
    Oh, and I’m extremely jealous you got to meet Billy Joel and Prince!😊 They are both in my top 5!

    1. Any lawyer who thinks they can get by without their support staff and fails to appreciate their value is an asshole.

  2. Thanks for the honorable mention, and for bringing back the memories. They really were a unique group of people. So impressed that you’ve stayed in touch with so many.

  3. The memories just came flooding back. What an amazing moment in time. Thanks for posting this Tom. Big hug to you my friend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this Post:  

Sign up for blog updates!
Join my email list to receive updates and information.