Posted on August 13, 2019 in Blog
In celebration of our 10th Anniversary, Bast Amron has asked each of our lawyers to write about their passion outside the law. This month Bast Amron highlights Zak Laux. Zak joined the firm in 2016 and is a graduate of Florida State University and the University of Miami School of Law. Zak’s passion, described in his own words, is music.
When you ask most lawyers—especially most bankruptcy lawyers—what they did in undergrad, you’re likely to hear things like economics, accounting, or something else involving finance or numbers. But we didn’t all start off with an interest or course-related training in business.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a special connection with music. At the age of 4, I was obsessed with my parents’ record collection. And once I was tall enough to sit at my grandma’s piano bench, I would tinker on the keys, plunking out the melodies of the Moody Blues, Elton John, and other classics my parents had on vinyl. Sometime later, I realized I had a decent voice and my elementary school music class quickly became my favorite, even surpassing our weekly time in the computer lab playing Oregon Trail.
Throughout middle and high school, I played the trumpet in the marching band, jazz band, symphonic band, and took up formal piano lessons. When it came time to think about college, the choice was obvious: I would major in music. I had to choose a principal instrument, and although I had far more experience with the trumpet and my voice, the piano had become my passion.
As far as I was concerned, my piano audition couldn’t have gone worse. Although I had struggled through a few piano recitals and competitions in the past, my college audition showed me that while I was passionate about the piano, I was absolutely terrified of performing the instrument on a stage all by myself.
Within the first several weeks of college, I realized how far behind the curve I really was. I had started formal piano training at age 15, whereas most of my colleagues began taking lessons before they could write cursive. But through years of study under my professors, and hundreds of hours of practice, my confidence rose proportionally with my increased technical skill and overall musicality. Playing your instrument, though, is only one part of the curriculum of a music major. My study of music history, music theory, and piano literature shaped my view and understanding of the world and the powerful role the arts plays in it.
Fast-forward to today, and I’m extremely grateful for my musical background and training; it serves me well almost every day. In law, the devil is always in the details and my attention to nuance is sharply honed, as is my ability to remain focused on the bigger picture and my (or my client’s) role in it, notwithstanding a particularly challenging obstacle that forms a part of that picture. And my countless performances in front of demanding professors and discerning colleagues in my college piano studio has prepared me to fearlessly “perform” in open court.
While music is no longer my entire life, as it was in college, it still plays an important part in it. After a long day of lawyering, there’s little I enjoy more than coming home, sitting at my piano, and letting the stress of the day melt away. I’m also an avid concert-goer and I sit on the Executive Committee of Friends of New World Symphony, where I help to ensure the strength of Miami’s vibrant performing arts scene.
I’ve now learned the numbers stuff as part of my busy insolvency practice, but I always welcome the opportunity to debate which orchestra has the best recording of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony, the proper execution of mordents and pralltrillers in the keyboard works of J.S. Bach, or the impact of WWI on the works of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
About the Author: Zakarij Laux concentrates his practice in bankruptcy and restructuring, workouts, creditors’ rights, and complex business litigation. Zak has represented national lending institutions and loan servicers, commercial landlords, receivers, creditor committees, debtors, and bankruptcy trustees at the trial and appellate levels and through post-judgment execution. Click here to find more about Zak.