Lead the Way: Philip DiComo
About Lead the Way
Every month we spotlight an exemplary alumnus or alumna who is a true leader in their field and in the community. These individuals astound and inspire us. We draw the curtain back on their professional careers, daily routines, and the source of their passion.
Haile, Shaw & Pfaffenberger, PA
LPBC Class Year: 2012
Phil serves as outside counsel to businesses, entrepreneurs, investors and non-profit institutions. His representation of exempt organizations ranges from serving as outside general counsel providing guidance on a broad range of governance matters as well as business and donor agreements, to reviewing commercial co-venture arrangements, joint ventures and strategic partnerships to guiding non-profit mergers and other complex transactions.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
The first thing I do before even getting out of bed is I say “Alexa, good morning,” which turns on Morning Edition on public radio so I can catch up on the latest news and events, and my window shades open as well (although with the time change it’s still dark out so it defeats the purpose).
Do you get any work done before you get to the office?
I am in the habit of checking my emails from home and responding if anything can’t wait until I get to the office, but typically, unless it's necessary, I try to use the morning drive to clear my head and get ready for a busy day. It’s not unusual to have to catch up on work in the evening, but I prefer to get in the office early rather than work from home in the morning.
How do you think your routine is different from that of other attorneys?
On a daily basis serving as outside general counsel to privately held companies and not-for profit organizations I substantively work with a significant number of clients each day, likely more than most attorneys do in one day. The key is to give each client the attention they deserve so that they feel like they are my only client. Also, when most people think of attorneys they automatically think of litigation and trials. That’s nothing like what I do on a daily basis.
What are your current goals?
To continue to build my business serving not-for-profits and privately-held businesses. I am fortunate to work in a smaller, collegial firm which gives me a great deal of independence in building my practice the way I want do so. And I am at the point in my career where that is my top professional priority.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Probably when I decided to go to law school at night while continuing to work full time. And then starting a new career as an attorney in my mid-thirties.
What would you say is the hardest part of your day?
I take my role and responsibility seriously, but at the end of the day, clients have to make what they believe is the best decision for their organization or business. Sometimes, despite everything, bad decisions are made, or bad things happen despite doing everything right. When you work with so many good clients, your emotions are often tied to their successes and their failures, and that creates a rollercoaster which can be difficult.
What is the most rewarding part of your day?
I have had long-term relationships with many of my clients, and it is especially rewarding for me when my clients see me as part of their leadership team. That’s often when I can contribute the most, both from a legal and a business standpoint, and that is incredibly rewarding.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
A big part is paying attention to everything around me, my community, my business, my clients and to always strive to learn and understand to a greater extent tomorrow than I do today. Sounds simple but when you break it down to your business, and the multiple sub-sets of industries you work in, your community, again broken down into various subsets such as geography, volunteer organizations, etc., and your family, it is continuous work.
What is the best advice you have received?
I’ve had lots of good advice come my way, but the one thing that I always remember is something I read that was attributed to Hillel, the Hebrew philosopher and religious leader, “He who does not increase his knowledge, decreases it.” I believe knowing as much as I can about anything puts me in a position of strength. Leadership is how you apply that base of knowledge.
Aside from your work, what are you passionate about?
First and foremost, my family. I also get pretty passionate about Gator sports, not just football, but all sports. I won’t miss a Gator football game, and I also make a point of watching as many softball and basketball games as I can. But I also enjoy Gator gymnastics, baseball, soccer, etc.
What issue in PBC would you like to see fixed tomorrow?
From a pure practical standpoint I am concerned about the over-crowded road and traffic system and congestion in all parts of the county. It seems that as roads get more congested, drivers are taking more risks and becoming less attentive. We should address these issues. On a macro level, I think because of the large transitory nature of our community, coupled with the geographic scale of the county, we struggle as a community with an identification and a sense of place.
How do you unwind when you get home?
If I have time, I might play with the dog or go for a walk around our property. Or, I might find a Gator game to watch.
Rapid Fire Round
Typically, the most recent by Haruki Murakami
Do you have any nicknames?
Nope, just Phil.
Cake or pie?
Pie, preferably apple.
Favorite day of the week?
Sunday because I know I’ll be talking to my daughter.
Winter or summer?
It’s Florida, I am good with both.