Magna’s Peter Hecht went one-on-one with Haleh Riabizadeh Resnick from Jewish Community Voice.
Tell me about your connection to the South Jersey Jewish Community?
I actually grew up in East Brunswick, Exit 9 off the Turnpike. But we’ve been in South Jersey for 17-18 years and are members of Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel. As a matter of fact, my youngest son just celebrated his bar mitzvah Covid-style in our backyard! I was a NY City fan as a teen–loved the NY Jets; my boys are Knicks fans. But my wife is a Sixers junkie–so South Jersey is seeping into our blood.
What was your first job?
I worked in the pre-paid calling card business. Back when pay phones were still all over the place, a calling card was incredibly useful. Businesses would provide them to customers as promotional items; personalize the card itself and have a promotional message when you made a call. The cards were popular in Europe too and some cards are considered collectibles! Didn’t get paid much at first; my dad would actually give me the train money I needed just to get to work! I worked in the telecom industry for about 8 years.
How did you go from a telecom job to founding Magna Legal Services?
Well, I wanted to make a career change, but I was very much typecast as a telecom guy. So, my father-in-law suggested that I work with him in the court reporting business. I figured it would be a resume filler that would allow me to switch gears and get into a Fortune 500 Company. So, I went to work for him; fell in love with the work, and before we knew it, we became partners and created Magna.
Can you give us an elevator pitch on Magna Legal Services?
Magna is 14 years young and headquartered in Philadelphia with offices in all the major NFL cities. We are an end-to-end litigation support provider, helping with everything from litigation to discovery, language services, medical services, social media surveillances including a graphics team that will help you tell your story in court. We will even sit 2nd or 3rd chair in trials to manage the technological presentation! We are also a virtual service provider for arbitration, depositions and conferences, which was a big help to everyone in the last year. And if you ever need a mock trial to help with preparation, we can do that too.
That’s a lot! So, are you an attorney now?
Actually, no. My dad is a tax attorney and CPA, so when I was at Rutgers for undergrad, I thought about being a lawyer, but in the early ’90s there was an over-abundance of attorneys–many out of work–so I just didn’t do it. My work at Magna is focused on the sales, marketing, and management of the business.
What’s it like working with your father-in-law?
Family events are interesting. You can never turn off the business–at a family dinner or bar mitzvah, conversation always loops back to Magna. Now, my father-in-law’s youngest son is also a partner in Magna.
Did you find your psychology and sociology background helpful in what you do at Magna?
I’ve always been a people person, and my college experience gave me depth in understanding what motivates people.
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
Who doesn’t like to spend time with their family? My wife and kids are everything. I enjoy my kids; they are so different from me. My daughter and both sons are all athletic. I like to ski but honestly don’t have many hobbies. My hobby is Magna! It’s my sport. I want to win in selling. It’s my passion. The secret to happiness is finding a job that you love.
This article was originally published in the Jewish Community Voice paper on June 21st, 2021.