Interview with the Competitors

Interview with the Competitors

Susan Metcalfe, Esq.

1. What does your practice primarily focus on today?
The primary focus of my practice is now, and always has been, litigation. I have served as lead counsel in a wide variety of matters ranging from contract disputes, intellectual property and franchise litigation, construction defect cases and insurance coverage issues, to premises and product liability. These actions can be as simple as a vendor agreement dispute between local small businesses— or as complex as an intellectual property case involving sophisticated global entities. The skills I bring as a litigator translate to all the cases I handle, no matter the nature or subject of the dispute, and I relish delving into new areas of the law and mastering the substantive details of my clients’ matters.

2. What do you love about your job?
I love doing exactly what Magna has invited me to do for the past 4 years— culminating in the Battle of Champions— which is to say, battling it out in a court of law. I delight in the intellectual challenge of carefully sifting through the facts and law, looking for the chinks in my opponent’s armor – the facts that don’t quite fit, the overlooked contract clause, or the novel interpretation of existing law. Preparing for trial takes time and hard work, but there are performance aspects in every step of preparation that can be an exhilarating challenge and an opportunity to utilize a lifetime of hard-won knowledge of human nature.

3. How did you originally connect with Magna Legal Services?
I first met Magna’s Director of Sales, Dan Poletti, when he gave an in-house CLE at my first firm. I was extremely impressed with the presentation and the capabilities demonstrated, so I started doing business with Magna soon after. Magna has been a terrific, trusted partner for years and we share a lot of great memories and war stories.

4. How did you feel after winning Chopped Battle of Champions?
Each year, I prepared for the Chopped competition with the same attention to detail that I bring to every trial. I would read and reread the problem statement, always searching for the “twist” that might catch the competitors off guard. I was truly thrilled to find myself winning year after year. When Peter Hecht proposed the Battle of Champions, I have to admit — without disrespect to my many fine competitors over the years – I felt like this was the Super Bowl and World Series all rolled into one. The problem was fabulously written and as complex and nuanced as ever. Winning against such a proven veteran as Ted Schaer was obviously a thrill and a validation of decades of trial experience and hard work.

5. If you weren’t an attorney what would you be doing?
My husband jokingly suggested that I answer “Gal Gadot’s job.” But there’s a bit of truth to that— the job, not being Wonder Woman. I have always enjoyed performing: playing the guitar and singing for any audience, hosting a college television program, and even acting on a local stage as a teenager. The performance aspect of litigation is one of the great joys for me. Interacting with the jury, the judge, and opposing counsel – seeing people react and feeding off their energy and direction help make me a successful litigator. But you know, being Wonder Woman probably wouldn’t be so bad either.

Theodore M. Schaer, Esq.

1. What does your practice primarily focus on today?
My personal practice focuses on the defense of cataphoric injury cases. I also spend a good amount of my time counseling businesses on data privacy and cyber security.

2. What do you love about your job?
No day is boring. My practice surrounds the activities of people in their normal lives. Seeing the things that people do and say is always entertaining. I find myself saying “you can’t make this sh*t up” almost every day. I love the front row seat in the theatre of life, even though it’s often times sad to watch.

3. How did you originally connect with Magna Legal Services?
I have known Bob Ackerman for over 30 years. When Bob and Mark Calzaretta left for Esquire, our business followed them. When Bob, Mark and Peter formed Magna— we followed them.

4. How did you feel after winning Chopped Battle of Champions?
What trial lawyer wouldn’t want to showcase their skills on the big stage of the Borgata in front of 200 clients and colleagues? Jury trials are becoming less frequent. To have the opportunity to compete against some of the best lawyers in the country in front of existing and perspective clients is unheard of. To have all of that and to have it benefit the work of CHOP… amazing.

5. If you weren’t an attorney what would you be doing?
Selling something. At the end of the day, we are all in sales— we just sell different products.

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