Arnold Pinkston on Being a Business Leader, Lawyer and Philanthropist

UCI Law Dean Austen Parrish interviews Arnold Pinkston, Corporate Vice President and General Counsel at Edwards Lifesciences, about his rewarding career focused on changing the lives of people fighting cardiovascular disease through innovative and patient-first strategies in the GC office, his views on philanthropy and corporate responsibility, and about how teamwork is key to being a successful lawyer.

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UCI Law Talks · Arnold Pinkston on Being a Business Leader, Lawyer and Philanthropist


  • Austen Parrish

    UCI Law Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law
    Expertise: Transnational Law and Litigation, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Federal Courts

    Austen Parrish assumed the role of Dean and Chancellor's Professor of Law of the University of California, Irvine School of Law in August 2022, becoming its third dean. He previously served as the Dean and James H. Rudy Professor of Law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. In 2018 and again in 2021, he was named a Wells Scholars Professor for his work with Indiana University’s prestigious Wells Scholars program. In 2019, he was bestowed with IU’s Bicentennial Medal and, in 2022, he was awarded the Provost’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Office of the Provost, recognizing outstanding and transformative contributions to Indiana University Bloomington. He serves on the board of directors of AccessLex Institute and is an elected member of the American Law Institute. Prior to academia, Parrish practiced law at O'Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles. He earned his law degree from Columbia University.

  • Arnold Pinkston

    Arnold A. Pinkston, Corporate Vice President, General Counsel at Edwards Lifesciences

    Arnold A. Pinkston joined Edwards as Corporate Vice President, General Counsel in July 2019. Pinkston has more than 35 years of experience as a lawyer and business leader including serving as general counsel at Allergan, general counsel at Beckman Coulter, deputy general counsel at Eli Lilly and Company and chief legal officer at CoreLogic, Inc. Throughout his career he has built and led high-performing global teams and managed complex business and legal issues relating to litigation, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, board governance, compliance, finance and securities. Pinkston currently serves as a board member for Bio-Rad Laboratories (NYSE: BIO) and the Forum for Corporate Directors. He is also on the Orange County Community Foundation’s Board of Governors. He received a bachelor's degree in geophysics from Yale College and a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School.

Podcast Transcript

Austen Parrish [00:00:04] Welcome to UCI Law Talks from the University of California, Irvine School of Law. For all our latest news, follow UCI Law on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Austen Parrish [00:00:21] Good morning. Thank you for joining us. My name is Austen Parrish. I'm the dean and a chancellor's professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. This is UCI Law Talks, the podcast where you get to learn more about the amazing Anteater community that is the law school, but also hear from leaders and lawyers of Orange County and obtain a glimpse into why we have such an innovative and inspiring legal profession here in Southern California today. We're incredibly fortunate that Arnie Pinkston is joining the podcast. Arnie is the corporate vice president and general counsel of Edwards Lifesciences. He's deeply connected to Orange County, including serving on the law school's Board of Visitors, as well as the Orange County Community Foundation's Board of Governors. We'll learn more about his career this morning. Arnie, great to see you. Thank you for making time this morning and welcome to UCI Law Talks.

Arnie Pinkston [00:01:08] Austen, thanks for the welcome. It's great to see you. How has it been? You're starting your second year.

Austen Parrish [00:01:12] You're ready? Yeah, yeah. Just finished the one year mark. It's it's been great. It's it's just a fabulous community here. You know, we're starting the fall semester, so the new students are in the building, and things are going well. How about you? Everything Well?

Arnie Pinkston [00:01:27] Yeah, everything's well. I'm coming off a week of vacation. It's a little quiet here in August, so I'm trying to get organized in there. Things are going pretty well.

Austen Parrish [00:01:35] Well, that's nice. Well, hey, let's dig right into it. You know, I'm sure most of our listeners know Edwards Lifesciences, but perhaps not all do. What is Edwards and what does it do?

Arnie Pinkston [00:01:45] Edwards is a great company. I'm really proud to be here. It's kind of a the gem of that crowning achievement of my career to be able to work at this fine company. We make heart valves in heart disease is the number one killer. The heart valves we make are of extraordinary quality. They're extraordinarily innovative. You know, they save lives. They make enormous contribution to society by improving the patient's quality of life and extending their life. You know, Edwards is sort of special in the way it orients itself to accomplishing that work. Put patients first. We have a credo here that starts with patients in the way we look at it is if we can make sure that patients are served well, then the rest of our stakeholders, our employees, our vendors, our shareholders can all do well. But it starts with contributing something of value so that we can actually capture it and serve everyone else. So putting patients first in the way we do that is not simply by making something that's been done before. What's special about Edwards is we are spending enormous sums in development to expand health care, to change the way it's practiced, to address all the issues for patients that don't have any therapies right now. So we'll spend $1.6 billion this year in developing new therapies, and we have pretty good wins now. But we know that there are many more patients out there and it's about innovation. So at the core of our story is innovation and big investment, big risk, big bets on trying to change the way medicine is practiced to reach people who really don't have other options. And that makes it special. Coming to work, there's a real energy year on year. Bunches of young folks, young engineers. We have 2000 engineers at the company thinking up all kinds of new ways to do things better to save more patients. And the energy that comes from that is just incredible.

Austen Parrish [00:03:42] Yeah, it's an amazing company. I think sometimes our local community don't realize just how much innovation and how much interesting things that are changing the lives of people occur right in our backyard in Orange County. And Edwards is a great example of that.

Arnie Pinkston [00:03:56] Yeah. And Edwards, it's in the backyard. It's it's headquartered right here in Irvine. But it's a very global company, which I think also contributes to its ability to be successful. We have a huge innovation center in Israel. We have physicians in businesses all over the world. In the contributions we make or not our just our own. We're not able to create better products because we add those smart young engineers. Those engineers have to work with physicians around the globe. And so we get input from every country on every continent. And we're not every country, but, you know, many countries from around the globe, from the physicians, the experts globally. And we believe that, you know, that ability to reach out globally to get ideas and how to improve these things, find the best operators, contribute to our success in terms of innovating.

Austen Parrish [00:04:48] Yeah, it's interesting you say that. I think that globalization component is so important. It's true with law schools, too. You know, we feel that giving our students a little bit of insight into the way the legal profession is changing on a global level is so critical to educating the next generation of lawyers. It's interesting you mentioned how many engineers there, and we're going to announce this soon. We just entered into a program with the UCI Engineering School for Partnership to create a scholarship pipeline between the engineering school here on UCI campus and the law school. Because engineering and law is such a powerful combination as as two degrees.

Arnie Pinkston [00:05:22] Yeah. You know, one of the my key philosophies is sort of the power of cooperation in bringing diverse minds together. So the engineers in the lawyers getting together to think through how do we best serve society. That's a powerful combination that's going to go well. That's going to create some real value eventually.

Austen Parrish [00:05:40] I think you're right. That interdisciplinary connection and those diverse viewpoints are just critical. So I hate that Edwards does fabulous things. And you've just you've just summarized that well. Got two acids. We're a law school. What does a corporate vice president and general counsel does in that context? What what's the day in your life? How do you fit into the company's history of innovation and leadership?

Arnie Pinkston [00:05:59] Yeah, it's actually a really cool job. I say, Well, I really love my job as the general counsel, and a lot of it is well, a lot of it is being a true legal expert. But I have a team of lawyers and again, it's we have a saying that no one of this is as smart as all of us. And so I rely on this sort of powerful knowledge of my internal lawyers and the outside firms that support us in really doing the law stuff. And about maybe 60 to 70% of my work is really business work. We run the company with an executive leadership team, cross-functional. So you have a, you know, a chief human resource officer, chief financial officer, head of manufacturing, the head of our businesses. And so we have this cross-functional team of experts who meet and really run the policy and the strategy of the company. And then, you know, sort of how do we get 18,000 people to cooperate in this innovative exercise we're trying to accomplish? And so it's making really those policy and strategies, decisions that are at the core of what I do. But I don't have to make them alone, making them with the expertise of my fellow teammates. You know, everyone who works at Edwards and who we rely on and all the advisors we have around the globe that kind of help us do that. So a lot of my day is meeting with them and then meeting with my team, making sure my role on that team as the legal expert that I've looked at, what the law means for our strategy. In other words, none of what I do matters unless we can actually save more patients. So I have to sort of identify all the legal issues in prioritize them and resource them in a way that that allows Edwards to hit it strategy to save as many patients as possible, to create as many innovations as possible. So it's an interesting perspective on the law. It's not, hey, how good is my brief, it's how good are the ideas in the recommendations, in the advice in terms of advancing the strategy of Edwards? It's sort of a powerful place to be in this, in the sense that if you're a lawyer, you're not trained to save many lives. I can't go into the cath lab or the, you know, the ICU and do much help. But with 18,000 people around me, I can be part of a team that really advances the health care of people around the globe. So that's that's really makes it pretty exciting for me. In my job, I can actually save patients, Not directly, thankfully. No one's let me touch anything.

Austen Parrish [00:08:24] You know what strikes me with your answer? There is two things that are so important to our students. So one, I love the way how you say you know how much you enjoy your job. I think sometimes there's this sort of urban myth that lawyers hate what they do. But I have to say, many of the people I come across, the alumni that I work with, leaders in the community, they really like what they're doing and they like how law has opened up the ability for them to make a difference. And that's the second part. When I when I talk to new students these days, you know, they want to have a rewarding career. They aspire at some point to be in a position like what you've you've done and be able to be at the highest levels of the profession. But they also want to make a difference in individual people's lives, whether that's volunteering or in the work they do. And that combination you describe just seems so poignant there, right? Being able to be able to work in the intersection of business and law in a way that makes a difference to everyday people. I think it will resonate with many of our students that are that are listening.

Arnie Pinkston [00:09:17] Yeah, and I think it's an important message to get out there. I worry that sometimes lawyers get a bad rap and corporations certainly get a bad rap out there, and oftentimes they're well deserved because there are stories where lawyers have done bad things and corporations have done bad things. But that's not necessarily the story of, you know, lawyers and corporation. I'm proud to be a lawyer, and I'm very proud to be part of a corporation. But you have to choose your corporations wisely. What's the purpose of the corporation? What are they trying to accomplish? And at Edwards, we're pretty direct about that. We're going to save patients. That's what we do first, and everyone else gets taken care of from there. But other companies might have a different orientation, a different a different sort of objective. At the end of the day, they might be driven by other principles. And then our core principle, which is what's best for patients. And so when you when you go out there, you can incorporation should be. Of service to society. And so serving a corporation has a good mission. A good purpose can be very societal forward, can be a good contribution to society, is to choose a career in corporations, in corporate law. But you do have to choose your corporation wisely.

Austen Parrish [00:10:34] And that makes sense. You know, as I said, you know, we have a new group, a new cohort of amazing students coming in. If you look back when you started law school, did you think then that you'd be doing what you're doing now? Was that part of the plan or how?

Arnie Pinkston [00:10:47] But why not even close? You know, I, I was one of the those kids were the first one to go to college in my family. And, you know, I didn't really know what lawyers were doing, what their careers were like. I knew one judge, but I didn't even watch Perry Mason at those days. So I, I really didn't have any idea what my career would become. But I really did go into law school with a sense of, you know, hey, thankfulness for all the people who had helped me get to where I've gotten I had my eyes opened in my heart, open to, hey, what what can I do here? And that would be true to me. You know, what kinds of careers would serve me. And I did, I think, have a recognition that there was a broad range of things you could do out of law school. And now when you look back on, I don't know, I look back on and I go, there's no way I could have seen what was coming. Probably good that I didn't see what was coming. I would have avoided all those mistakes and bumps and bruises that have taught me so much and made me appreciate what what my career has been. But I know looking back actually strengthens my faith. It just just my all moral philosophy is to say, hey, all the opportunities that God brought me to a place that that has meaning for me. And and then it also really reinforces to me how much I was reliant on my society, on my mentors, on my family and getting here that I, you know, I had a role in some of what I've done, but there's no way I get even close to where I've been able to do without the help of mentors, without the support of my family, without friends, without competitors who could really drive me in and foundation. We without this great country, frankly, you know, all of what we had existed in the context of peace and prosperity that was driven by our forefathers and the generations that went before us to create that that peace. I had a peaceful opportunity to just go to school and learn, play sports and compete and do all that stuff because others created that. I fell into it and I'm happy to have been participating in it. I tried hard and all that, but it certainly didn't do it alone.


Austen Parrish [00:12:57] You know, I talked with lots of successful lawyers, and that's a common theme, right? The importance of mentorship, the idea that other people are sort of pulling that over with you. I think it's so important these days, although I also know that knowing you already, there's a lot of hard work, right? So there was, as you said, you know, you may not have been doing it at all, but it certainly was a lot of hard work to get where you are. And, you know, I've got to say, like I was I was looking at your bio and what an amazing career, Right? So whichever way you cut it, are you able to tease out to our listeners what some of those highlights are, the things that you look back and you say, Well, see, that was that was an amazing experience or that was an amazing mentor and something that really sticks in your mind.


Arnie Pinkston [00:13:34] Yeah, the highlights come in in different themes. One of the highlights as I sit here in my chair right now and go, Hey, would you accomplish I've had more than 15 people who have worked for me, go on to be general counsels and now wins huge for me. And I go, okay, that that's one that gets me up in the morning right now to say, okay, how do I keep investing in the people who are one, making my company great? How do I keep investing at them so that they can continue to grow? The first team of lawyers I hired is a highlight for me because three of them, they got promoted into the business. They were such good lawyers and such good business people that they went on to be vice presidents in the business. That was a key highlight for my career. One of the big stories here in the last decade in Orange County was Allergan fighting off Valiant in Pershing Square in a hostile takeover bid and being part of that story, which was a lot of fun, that was hair raising and, you know, a wild ride. But lots of controversy, lots of great stories in that one. That was fun. And even, you know, there's a highlight back in my career where I got a new job with a legal team that had been struggling to advise the client. The client was doing some things that they shouldn't have been doing. And in we as a team, you know, knuckled down. It was sort of interesting, I think, because I got the job. I was talking to my team for a week. They were disgruntled. They'd been trying to get the client to understand it hadn't worked. And I said to my wife, Hey, honey, I think I can fix this, but I'm not sure I can survive it. So because we had some really tough stuff, some tough counseling to do with the client, and within nine months we had solved that problem with that team. And I'm so proud of that. And you and I talked about one of those characters earlier in our conversation when we we just got on the line. But I'm so proud of those relationships and what we were able to do. And so there's plenty of highlights in a career is also a thousand mistakes US did as you would know, and you just got to ride those ups and downs with, you know, not too hard, You know, when things are down, you got to realize you're probably going to pop back up and the things are up on top. Just got to realize something around the corner is going to knock you for a loop. So I've tried to keep that philosophy with these things.

Austen Parrish [00:15:45] I think it's a good way of looking at it. I always a not a not really dig this, but I, I kind of like carve on these things that if you had a couple of really bad mistakes that might give you some clearance going forward. So you got to go and look at the upside.

Arnie Pinkston [00:15:58] It does seem to go in cycles right there does when you look back to just the times when it's going well and times when it's not and you got to fight your way through them either way.

Austen Parrish [00:16:07] No, I think that's right. I think that's right. You know, part of this podcast, you see I like talks is to talk a little bit about Orange County and Orange County, at least from my perspective. It's such an amazing legal community. Can you talk about your involvement with the broader community and maybe what you find most inspiring about being a lawyer in Orange County?

Arnie Pinkston [00:16:26] Yeah, I, I think Orange County is a local community, is really a very special place. And mostly because what I see is just extraordinary philanthropy, not just in the legal community but in the broader community. People want to help each other. And we are an interesting county because we have some of the wealthiest people in the world, in some of the poorest regions, parts of the world, right here in our own county. And I think it's incumbent on local leaders to really think through how do we solve the issues that have evolved for our society? How do we how do we deal with the kinds of problems in Orange County? Has the kind of philanthropy and commitment and engagement to actually lead in that regard? I think so. You know, we have people willing to engage, willing to to look at the issues hard and try to get together. You know, I think historically there were smoke filled rooms where a few people could get together to help navigate the issues of our local communities. And now things are so much bigger, it's harder to get anyone the right group in any one room. So we have to use new tools. But I feel like in this community, there's enough people who really want to do the good work of making sure everybody has what they need to succeed. That in itself is special, just having that that level of philanthropy. But then you see it in the story of UCLA. What a great institution. Its extraordinary success in starting off as a new law school is part and parcel of one that the talent and leadership of the people who were at UCI law, but then the support they got from this community, from the legal community, was extraordinary. And I just love being on this bandwagon. It's going great and I'll continue to do my best to try to serve it because I think there are great things continue, great things for UCLA.

Austen Parrish [00:18:18] Yeah. You know, as you said, I've been here about a year as dean. And one of the things that strikes me and I know you know, I know a lot of deans, I know a lot of law schools, that community connection is extraordinary. Extraordinary not only in the founding, as you said, but also continuing today. The number of people I've had that have reached out to to welcome me and and then to ask how they can help is is really exceptional. The other thing which I was struck with is if the if the vision of the law school was to be able to bring talent from all over the country, from first generation families and underrepresented students, and and launched that sort of talent into the Orange County legal community, if you look at it through that lens, how successful have we been? Right. The the quality. Like I we were talking earlier, looking back at starting law school, I would never get in these days. And the students are amazing. And the students here in Orange County are just just phenomenal. And they they bring such a wealth of experience and diverse viewpoints and backgrounds and educational backgrounds. The majors that they've done and the universities they come from. And then I'm just I'm like, it's one of the great things that you talk about, you having a good job. It's good, but it's not as good as being a dean. I get to be with these 20 year olds that are going to change the world and are inspiring in the way they're thinking about things.

Arnie Pinkston [00:19:37] It's a credit to the law school. Your orientation towards public service, I think, is what, you know, really resonates for our legal community here is there are so many ways to help, so many ways to contribute. But I think your students will come not only as talented as they are, but with that orientation, it's going to be powerful what they can accomplish as they go out there, here and locally in the community. But I think your students be it will go off you know and globally have impact so they're they're that talented.

Austen Parrish [00:20:06] Yeah I think that's right. You know I always like to think of that from a few different angles. One, I think it's the best way to educate people that if you're trying to do a great legal education, you want to have that deep understanding of the law and the doctrine and the history. But you also want students to understand what it actually means to practice and working with real clients on pro-bono matters while they're in law school is an amazing way to do that. And then the second part of it, which, you know, the different people think differently about this, I am incredibly supportive of somebody who wants to go into public interest, work with a nonprofit. My wife is a is a career law public interest lawyer. On the other hand, I think it's almost more important for the person going into business or finance or in the large law firms to understand that their career is tied to the community. And if they're deeply connect to the community, at least in many of the big law firms, that's a way they make connections, they make business, they they get to know well, they get to know the community more broadly. And so I think it's you know, it's great for the student who comes in, who says, I want to work for the nonprofit, but it's also a great way to launch the career of somebody who wants to go into high finance, private equity, M&A, etc.. Do you agree with that?

Arnie Pinkston [00:21:12] I really do agree with that. I think that's one of the things I really want to try to emphasize is that service within a corporate entity can be public service. It should be corporate service. You know, maybe we have it oriented our rules, our laws well enough. But corporations should serve all the society that should be I mean, they are, after all, creatures of the law. And the law is, in fact, our commitment to each other. So it should serve all of us. You know, at the end of the day, maybe corporations don't have to. The law doesn't require them to serve the public. But they should. And and that's where we as citizens, as lawyers, you know, with our commitment to the law, should be should be orienting our corporations is there's a whole lot of scholarship around this. But the real purpose in my mind for corporations is to serve society. And I'm happy we do that here at Edwards in the fact that other corporations maybe don't have that orientation is something we should enable.

Austen Parrish [00:22:13] I agree with you. I think that point, if I remember correctly, you are on the board of governors of the Orange County Community Foundation. What is that and how does that connect to what we're talking about on on helping the community and public service?


Arnie Pinkston [00:22:25] Yeah, the Orange County Community Foundation is is a like one of the sort of premier community foundations in the country because it's so accomplished. They have like enormous assets sort of organized in terms of serving the nonprofits, the people who want to help serve nonprofits. So what Orange County Community Foundation does is, is work with people who are have a philanthropic bend, an interest in helping them accomplish what they want to accomplish. We can vet the nonprofits. We can show them what's the most effective ways in which we give. Give them tools to be very effective in their giving. It's one of those things where I think we can be a connection between the nonprofits, the business world, the local governments in terms of trying to solve some of the key issues that Orange County might have as a as a community. And, you know, with the power of that cooperation amongst the leaders from all these different parts of the community, I think we can have much better success. We could probably teach other communities or copy off of other communities to actually do a better job for the all of us that you're so, so important to the health of our society.

Austen Parrish [00:23:40] Yeah, no, I think that makes perfect sense. Know you've done a lot. I mentioned earlier that you're also a member of our Board of Visitors and you've been connected to law school for a long time. Why did you decide to serve? Who? Strong armed you. But know why. Why did you decide to get connected? And what's your interest in connecting with the law school?

Arnie Pinkston [00:23:59] The law school's commitment to public service, to educating young people is directly in line with. You know what makes me feel good about getting up every day? And I just know how much I was served by others. We talked about it earlier. You know, I had so many opportunities. I've had such a blessed life, but it's because people served. He put people went ahead of me and got the opportunities in. To be able to give back is what kind of you know, I can't really thank some of the great people who made my career my life possible. The only way to do that is now to to give to those who could use my help. And I'm really proud of, you know, my career in the law. My. My country and I know we are. The lawyers have been bad things. I know our country hasn't been perfect, but we've done as best as we can. And I'm going to continue to try to be positive and contribute. So it makes me feel good that it's just the right way for me to orient my day.

Austen Parrish [00:25:01] Well, I know this summer you had some of our law students working with you. I met two of them. Can you talk a little bit about that program? Do you run an Edwards Lifesciences? And how do law students get connected?

Arnie Pinkston [00:25:11] Yeah, we have a summer internship program here and we have it for engineers and stuff. But we also opened up a little program here in our law department where we we have a couple of interns come in and it's great to have, you know, a couple of interns from UCI this summer. The first thing that's so great is just to have their energy and intelligence around here. It's just a reminder of the freshness of what we once had as lawyers when we entered the career. And it's a good reminder to put ourselves back at the beginning of our careers, to say what was possible and where have we gone, and okay, what does that mean? We're not done, Where are we going from here? So I think it was great having them here. We also want to make sure they get a great experience. They get to see what's possible in the corporate context in terms of service to society, growing their career, having having a rewarding career, what's meaningful to them. And so I think it was a great program. The energy from the couple of the students that was here was extraordinary. We just loved having them here and they were real. They were real credit to the UCI community.


Austen Parrish [00:26:18] But what advice do you have for students who might be interested in the career at the intersection of business or health sciences and law? Is there guidance or advice you'd have for students that are starting out as they think about their long term career plans?

Arnie Pinkston [00:26:31] One, you can't predict where you're going to go. You're going to, as you go into law school, get good detailed instruction on a lot of, you know, important. Details in the law, but you can't get too caught up in the details is what I would tell you. And you need to stand back and understand that the law is our commitment to each other. It's the foundation of our civil society, and it's the rules by which we all agree to be governed. And at that level, you need to be able to learn the details, but stand back from it and understand that while there's wisdom in the rules that we currently have, the world continues to evolve and we have to continue to evolve the law in a way, the details of those laws to really address the changes that have happened in society, all the new technologies that are coming in. You know, the kids that have been growing up on all these game operating systems need to think of the law like the operating system, stand back from it and be willing to say, okay, the law is the tool by which we commit to each other. What commitments do we need to make as the world evolves to make sure that we can address the biggest issues out there?

Austen Parrish [00:27:43] That makes sense. You know, I assume you work with lots of outside counsel from time to time. Are there what are the traits that when you're looking out at the lawyers you interact with, what are the traits of early career mid-career lawyers in addition to that sort of broad view that you think make them exceptional lawyers? What are the things that really stand up to you?

Arnie Pinkston [00:28:02] Yeah, I think one of the key things is teamwork, right? These lawyers who can work in teams can listen, can contribute, had the courage to speak up when they need to speak up, bring their expertise, but listen to the other experts. That sense of teamwork. And, you know, we have that saying of no one of us is smart, as all of us being able to access everyone's mind and listen, that that's important. The ability of a lawyer to understand the purpose of my company is important. Right? We have a very special strategy built on innovation, built on organizing toward patient value first. And those things are important in the decisions we make and being aligned with the other 18,000 employees who are trying to think that way. So really understanding our business makes you a better practitioner in terms of advising Edwards. And then engagement just really, you know, being enjoying the work well enough to be great at it, which means you really study it. You work hard. Excellence requires practice. Excellence requires hard work. Focus the best in the world. Get there because they they work hard. They practice fundamentals. And those things can be important as well.

Austen Parrish [00:29:17] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think that's a lot of what happened in law school, too, right? You're trying to keep an eye on the big picture while you're doing the hard work of the day to day to really build your basic skill set. And in these days, I often think of law school as sort of it's almost a professionalization program, right? It's a transition from into adulthood and to starting a real professional career, which which, as you said, has these special responsibilities to the public and to society. But if you keep your eye on the ball, you can have an amazing career.

Arnie Pinkston [00:29:48] Yeah, I'm smiling, though, as to because I know I'm thinking back to my law school and I don't remember that detail studying, you know, all the hard work of that. What I remember is just the fun of sitting around with other students around the the breakfast table or the dinner table talking about what was the story in The New York Times that day and going to the gym with them and all the other stuff I did in law school. So which kind of mirrors life because you're going to have this career, but you're probably going to have a life outside that career to keep you balanced. And that can be just as important, perhaps more important in terms of being who you are. You'll have your career, but you're probably not just the lawyer, as you know. You're going to be some you're going to be yourself.

Austen Parrish [00:30:28] Yeah, you know, I remember that from my own. I now have I'm known for drinking a little bit of coffee. I actually do a coffee with the Dean series one student. And that started in law school because there was a coffee shop just across from the law school, and a group of us would go right after class and we'd sit down and they had these little Hungarian pastries. So you buy a little plate of pastries and you could spend several hours sort of debating, debating what had been talked about in class and sort of trying to wrestle through whatever the professor had said, which, you know, sometimes was impenetrable And so. Right. It was. But as you say, it was a great a community experience. And, you know, I don't know if you felt this way, but I certainly felt law school was sort of the first time that there was a group of people that were all there excited and eager to learn in the same way. Undergraduate was great, too, but it was so much more so large and you didn't quite have the same sort of small group of people that were all sort of dedicated and interested in the same way. What was that sounds like That was your experience too?

Arnie Pinkston [00:31:23] That was exactly my experience. And I wonder, you know, I wonder if it's part of the size of the UCI community and maybe your your law school community. Certainly that was that way of mind, that 160. You knew everybody and everyone you know was you saw them in your classes. You got an idea what they were thinking, how they thought, and they were interested in engaging in and just talking it through in a very polite civil way. It was just a blast. It was it was the first time. It was the my most enjoyable academic experience with law school.

Austen Parrish [00:31:56] Law school, particularly the first year is challenging, but it can be so rewarding. One of the things I lamented a little bit, if you listen to some of the national pundits and some of the conversations occurring nationally, you get this you get this mistaken impression that that's sort of intellectual engagement, that talking about the deep issues of the day no longer occurs. And I have to say that's not my experience here at in the law school. We've got this great courtyard and the Orange County weather doesn't it doesn't hurt at all when I go out for lunch or I'll walk out to grab a cup of coffee, The courtyard is usually packed with students sitting around tables, having those kinds of conversations that you were talking about. And I think you're right. You know, we we have about the same we have classes of around 150 to 160 students. So most people know. A large number of their classmates and. And they're good people. And so it leads to this, you know, kind of organic conversations. And and I actually think that's how you make great lawyers.

Arnie Pinkston [00:32:54] Yeah. There's just the issues of the day, our access to information about them. It just you know, it makes it easy for a group of young people focused on trying to think about the law. It seems like a perfect place. And like I said, it's sort of, you know, exciting to think about your students over there having that opportunity. It's not an opportunity you get for long, but they're three years to be able to just think in, talk in, hone your your views on various important issues for humanity. Ah, it's it's it's incredible. It is actually an incredible experience. Law school was fun.

Austen Parrish [00:33:35] I feel the same way. I don't dare say that to a student right before exams, but at the start of the semester I can get away with it.

Arnie Pinkston [00:33:41] So yeah, I don't remember the exams. I remember going to that gym with an almost my law school class. Almost everybody in the class, we go to the gym about 4:00 and we'd all see the we'd see each other at the dinner after, but we be in the gym working out now.

Austen Parrish [00:33:58] I know that makes sense. Well, Art, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for joining us for the UCI law Talks. Before we before we end this episode, is there any final words you'd like to leave us with?

Arnie Pinkston [00:34:08] You know, thanks for all you guys are doing at UCI Austen. You know, and know that the communities here with you is the more we can continue to engage with you and you can reach out to us. You have a lot of support. And the next generation is kind of counting on we will would benefit from the kinds of support we can give you. We're happy to do it. Just know we're here for you and glad you're there for the future of our country.

Austen Parrish [00:34:33] Arnie, thanks so much. That's very kind of you. Thank you for all you do for our community. It's been an absolute privilege having you on this This episode of UCI Law Talks. Thanks for joining us.

Arnie Pinkston [00:34:42] All right. Take care.

Austen Parrish [00:34:44] Take care.

Austen Parrish [00:34:49] Thank you for listening to UCR Law talks. For all our latest news, follow UCI Law on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.