Defending a white-collar crime to a jury is a difficult proposition: your “peers” in the jury box will include at least a few who have never worked in a corporation, never dealt with large sums of money, and labor to understand the more technical aspects of the allegations. They may resent a well-heeled, well-educated defendant who is even accused of wrong-doing. They may simply have no experience in the world of big-business and only know it seems like a world populated by people who think they are better: you need a trial lawyer who can defuse the instinctive resentment of the people who will determine your fate.
In short, you need a trial lawyer who has been on both sides.
Don Haslam is the grandson of a Lufkin, TX paper mill labor manager and Baptist church deacon. He lived in a Dallas federal housing project at four. Growing up in Paris, TX, he held menial jobs from the time he was thirteen ranging from auto mechanic to busboy to cook to West Texas roustabout to sewer plant lab technician. As a Caucasian high school Honor Society Student, he quarterbacked and captained sports teams that were two-thirds African American. At sixteen, he won the Jolly Good Fellow Award for best public speaker in a Dale Carnegie public speaking class of twenty-five adults and him.
The product of a profoundly abusive home, he seized on high school graduation to move on to the University of Chicago – a university that has cultivated more Nobel Prize winners than any other institution in the world – to study economics. He self-financed his undergraduate education trading Eurodollar futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange while quarterbacking and pitching on varsity teams. He did in vitro research to confirm the presence of certain alpha-receptors in canine mesenteries in the lab of Dr. Haruki Itoh at the University’s Department of Pharmacology. In his senior year, Haslam lived in the household of the great sociologist Morris Janowitz as he battled Parkinson’s disease; his academic year of twice daily walks with Morris through Hyde Park cemented a devotion to a world view that fuels his work to this day.
In his first professional life, Haslam held various securities trading positions in large commercial banks and managed the $40 million investment portfolio for the City of Midland, TX. He self-financed his law school education as Vice President and foreign exchange trader at Oklahoma’s largest bank holding company for five years. At the same time, he owned and operated a small business that taught college admissions test prep to Tulsa private high school kids. Immediately upon graduation from law school, he was hired by the U.S. Department of State to lead a team to the Russian Central Bank to teach a month-long seminar on Western financial math. And these days, he tries cases to jurors often from deep East Texas – often persuading them that the authorities have simply gotten it wrong.
So if you need a trial lawyer who can explain the intricacies of investment securities, Haslam studied math at one of the most quantitatively-oriented institutions in the world, taught math to students ranging from American teenagers to Russian professors to corporate treasurers, and applied math daily in securities analysis ranging from fixed income to derivatives to foreign exchange. If you need a trial lawyer who can explain the difference between direct- and indirectly-quoted currencies, the uniquely adversarial relationship between a trading operation’s front- and back-office, the yield curve, the Phillips Curve and how each influenced his purchase of $2 billion in two minutes from a bank trading room floor, who can explain a derivatives basis trade to a plumber and LIBOR to Ladies Who Lunch, then Don Haslam is your lawyer.