This month, we celebrate those who served in the United States Armed Forces and sacrificed so much to preserve our freedom. We’re especially proud to honor Nixon Peabody military veterans, reservists, and active-duty service members, as well as our military families. These colleagues have all made courageous contributions to our country. Through their discipline, leadership, and collaborative spirit at the firm—they continue to embody the values they learned while serving.
Many of NP’s former and current service members tirelessly advocate for veterans nationwide. They’ve leveraged pro bono and other opportunities to advance related causes and create a positive impact in our communities. Nixon Peabody offers a robust Veterans Resource Group, where colleagues share their stories and discuss opportunities to bolster veterans’ initiatives throughout our regions.
As we approach Veterans Day, we wanted to hear from our colleagues about the lessons they carry forward from their time in the military. We surveyed six NP colleagues—representing former service members and reservists—about their military experiences, the philosophies they live by, and their perspectives on how we can better support our veterans.
What was the biggest lesson serving in the military taught you?
David Song, U.S. Marine Corps (2000–2004), Los Angeles Project Finance and Public Finance Associate: No excuses. Mission accomplishment was ingrained in us from the beginning, and knowing that others relied on you made you fully appreciate the importance of getting your job done. As long as you don’t allow yourself to make excuses, you will find a way to get the mission accomplished. No excuses.
Nick Gamiz, U.S. Army, Active Duty and Reserve (2014–Present), Los Angeles Labor and Employment Paralegal: This is a tough question. The military has taught me a lot. It has taught me to appreciate the little things in life. I was on active duty orders for a year and apart from my family and friends. Being able to just make a phone call or grab a coffee at Starbucks whenever I wanted wasn’t something I could just go out and do. It’s made me appreciate and love the life that I do have—the simple freedoms. We are really lucky to be in this country, and I am grateful that I see this in a different light.
Kimberly Jennings, Air National Guard (2014–Present), San Francisco Regional IT Support Specialist: How to adapt and thrive in any environment. Within just the last year, I deployed to the Middle East, supported Northern California wildfire missions, and worked with California COVID-19 vaccination teams. I’ve had to be flexible and willing to learn and do any job that’s thrown my way, leading young airman and soldiers to do the same. You never know what you’ll be asked to do next, who you’ll be working with, or where you’ll be. I try to see it as an adventure rather than a challenge and have enjoyed it!
How has time in the military helped you in your current career?
Armando Batastini, U.S. Navy (1989—1994), Providence Complex Commercial Disputes Partner: In several respects: keeping cool and calm under pressure; time management; and being direct and honest, while treating everyone with respect.
Kevin Saunders, U.S. Marine Corps, Active Duty and Reserve (Enlisted: 1991–1997, Officer: 1998–Present), Rochester Complex Commercial Disputes Counsel: It is second nature to set goals while making sure your colleagues, practice group, etc. are doing well professionally and personally. A strong team can accomplish any task. One of my favorite Scriptures is Ecclesiastes 4:12 that embodies this principle: “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Conor McNamara, U.S. Army, Infantry (2010–2014), San Francisco Complex Commercial Disputes Associate: My time in the military has enabled me to function well in difficult situations, to operate effectively in teams, and to find solutions to challenging problems. It also instilled drive, discipline, and an unwillingness to quit, which have served me well.
How can we support veterans in our communities?
Armando Batastini: Internally, by having senior personnel help newer veterans transition into a civilian workforce; externally, by providing pro bono legal services that benefit veterans.
David Song: I recently volunteered to be the firm’s liaison to the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), which is a great organization that helps disabled veterans receive benefits they are entitled to as a result of their service to our country. I encourage my NP colleagues and those reading this to get involved and sign up for more information on veteran-related matters. The cases from NVLSP directly benefit those veterans you engage with and have a long-term, meaningful impact on their lives.
Conor McNamara: Hire them. Many veterans have dealt with high risk and complex situations, have developed and led teams, have operated in difficult conditions under extreme stress, and have learned to rapidly adapt to changing situations. These skills are valuable, and recognizing that a military veteran will be able to learn on the job and succeed (despite an unconventional background) is important. For many veterans, convincing potential employers that their skills will translate can be challenging and giving them a chance not only benefits them, but will likely benefit the hiring organization as well.
Kimberly Jennings: Veteran suicides have skyrocketed in recent years. One simple, impactful thing you can do is check in on your veteran peers—ask them how their transition has been, ask them about their service, validate them. My NP colleagues can also show support by connecting with organizations like Veterans Legal Institute to offer pro bono services to veterans.