Q&A with David P. Van Der Beken of Stebbins, Lazos & Van Der Beken
Specializing in banking and finance law
What or who inspired you to become a lawyer?
My first-year law professor, Joe Dickinson at UNH Law (formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center), introduced us to law studies in a way that made it much more than a collection of regulations and principles. He taught us that law was relevant not only to our daily lives, but as an inducement for social and economic change. Also, my current law partner and boyhood friend Hank Stebbins was an important influence. When he was a first-year law student at Boston University and I was starting my MBA degree at BU, we often discussed his studies. That sparked my interest in law enough that I registered, as part of my MBA program, to take a business law class. I was so taken by the experience that I immediately informed my parents I wanted to go to law school.
The most pressing issue facing the legal profession?
I practice law in the corporate, finance and commercial fields. The commercial world works on a much quicker time schedule than the court system. And the business world makes better use of technology systems so that time-sensitive communications become efficient and more cost-effective. Businesses need the civil courts to become faster and less formal in making decisions in disputes. Civil lawsuits that take many months and sometimes years, including appeals, are making the courts the place of last resort.
Your favorite fictional lawyer and why?
The “Paper Chase” was a favorite movie for me when I was young. It ran in 1973 while I was at Boston University grad school and thinking of attending law school.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
I do triathlons for fun, recreation and physical fitness. I like the exhilarating feeling I get from physical competition, and the overall benefits from the hard training that’s involved. I stick to local races. I have competed in most of the triathlon competitions in NH — in many instances, winning my age group races. I started swimming competitively at age 10 and continued through high school and college. I was captain of my Manchester Memorial High School and University of New Hampshire swim teams.