Larry DeRespino

The “noble profession” can sometimes seem dispassionate, but DeRespino brings a lot of heart to the job

Larry De Respino | U-Haul | General Counsel
Larry De Respino | U-Haul | General Counsel

I have a vivid memory of my first impression of an attorney. My mother was a legal secretary in Queens. I remember going to her office, Wolf & Haas, with all the legal books open around [the attorneys] and behind them on shelves. They were giants to me in that way people you respect seem larger than life. They spoke to me like a young man. They were true professionals and loved the law.

My most memorable day of work was in 1989, on the day I got the call that my father had passed
away.

I was at a little luncheonette in Phoenix. He was in New York. I got the call on a payphone. My mother had already passed away. I was young and so focused on my career and building my practice. Getting that bad news grounded me in the understanding that, at the end of the day, the law is what I do for a living and family will always be more valuable than that.

I have confidence in my instincts. My reactions are normally spot-on, and trusting those instincts has held me in good stead as it relates to offering sound counsel to my client.

My first job was a newspaper route when I was 12 years old. My parents told me there’s no shame in what you do, but there is shame if you don’t try to do it well.

Sometimes our work as lawyers is interpreted as a distraction or impediment to the men and women who support our customers and conduct our business. But I know for a fact that U-Haul’s lawyers have a lot of affection, commitment, and loyalty to our business and the men and women in the field. We do not just practice law in some ivory tower somewhere.

If people think there’s only one way to do something, that’s a recipe to squash creativity.

At first blush, people may think there’s something inherently problematic about do-it-yourself moving—that it needs to be regulated. We’re constantly challenged to fight that misconception and reinforce that it’s a reasonable, valuable, and safe endeavor.

Early in my career, I often felt people didn’t really hear me. One of the most valuable skills I’ve developed is the ability to speak to nonlawyers in a way they understand and that allows them to use my counsel in a manner that assists them in their business endeavors.