Ken Philpot, biking in Soucy, France.
Here’s worthwhile tip: if a family member ever needs legal advice related to their second home in the charming French countryside, make sure you give it.
Ken Philpot, a veteran San Francisco securities lawyer, helped his brother-in-law settle a dispute with a contractor working on his 17th century farmhouse in bucolic Soucy. The final seven-hour negotiation took place at the contractor’s home, located in the rolling green hills of the Loire Valley – and when they finished they all dined in French style.
The reward? Philpot can now stay at his brother-in-law’s second home whenever he likes.
Philpot and his wife, Angela Steel, a family lawyer, spent five months living there over the course of a sabbatical the two took that began at the end of 2008. In France, the pair spent days biking around the countryside, stopping only to eat their picnic lunches.
Philpot and Steel also traveled to Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania – and spent the winters in Tahoe.
“In the modern day and age, the career path, particularly of the litigator, is long and intense and if you’re going to stay fresh and creative I felt like it made sense to take some time away,” said Philpot who recently returned and has now set up shop with some old colleagues at Tufts, Stephenson & Kasper in downtown San Francisco.
Philpot worked at Reed Smith, doing securities litigation, before he left – now he’ll be doing commercial disputes and representing fiduciaries.
“As the world of law firms have been more intense, the concept of sabbatical are not as well supported,” he said. “I basically created my own sabbatical.”