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Drinks With The Deal: Edward Zimmerman of Lowenstein Sandler

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Published: October 28th, 2021
Ed Zimmerman discusses building the tech group at Lowenstein Sandler and his commitment to social justice.

Edward Zimmerman’s commitment to social justice comes from how he grew up, he said on this week’s Drinks With The Deal podcast. He was raised in Brooklyn by his father and four women, he said, “three of whom were disabled, and two of whom were LGTBQ, in the 1980s at a time when those were things that were particularly stigmatizing,” and his political and social view informed a lot of the decisions that he has made in his life.

As a law student at the University of Pennsylvania, he worked for the Disabilities Law Project, a nonprofit organization doing advocacy work for people with developmental disabilities, but he enjoyed the corporate work he did in a summer at Lowenstein Sandler LLP, which he joined after graduating from Penn in 1992 and where he has spent his entire career. As an associate, he was drawn to working with technology companies because, he said, “These businesses were disruptive, and they were run by people who were younger and who wanted to build something audacious.”

To build a strong practice in the area, Zimmerman and Lowenstein partner Anthony Pergola traveled extensively and spent considerable time working with the National Venture Capital Association. “We felt that it was crucial to develop relationships outside our geography so we would not be displaced within our geography,” said Zimmerman, who heads Lowenstein’s tech group.

Since 2006, Zimmerman and his wife have invested in more than 150 companies, and he said, “I think I’m more effective for my clients because I’ve had the experience of being involved in so many of my own investments, and I think I’m a better investor because I’m constantly in the flow of deals.”

“When I think about the investments I’ve made that have gone poorly and the mistakes I’ve made,” he said, “none of the mistakes that were companies where I lost all my money mattered. The only mistakes that really mattered were the companies where we made 80 times, 50 times, 100 times, 200 times our money and we didn’t put in more.”

His professional success notwithstanding, Zimmerman said, “I’m not a big fan of compartmentalizing. I spend a lot of time working, and I spend a lot of time with my colleagues and with others with whom I do business. Why shouldn’t I, if I’m really fired up about how neanderthal and inequitable the state of Texas is with respect to reproductive rights, why shouldn’t people be aware that that’s how I feel?”

And, he concluded, “My wife and I have been together since we were 18. I met her on her first day of college and my first day of sophomore year. We have two kids. And I definitely spend time thinking about if my kids have full knowledge of what I’m doing and when I choose to be quiet and when I choose to use my privilege, will my kids respect me, and will I project that I’ve acted with integrity?”

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunesSpotify and on TheDeal.com.

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