Elisha, who taught drafting in law school, is also a principal in Blue Pencil Inc., which coaches lawyers and business people to write more effectively. Much of what lawyers write is incomprehensible, he says. Clients appreciate clarity and-it should be no surprise-prefer attorneys who deliver it. If the ideas a lawyer must communicate in writing are complicated, says Elisha, it makes no sense to increase the challenge by expressing them using complex language. Plain English can mean shorter review times, quicker deals and fewer misunderstandings.
Elisha began his career in the corporate department of an international law firm, where he practiced some eight years. His responsibilities included negotiating transactions and drafting related agreements, such as agreements for the purchase and sale of assets, the purchase and sale of shares (public offerings and private transactions), redemptions, partnerships, limited partnerships, joint ventures, recapitalizations, employment, management, shareholders (buy/sell) and stock options. He left this firm to open his own and remained in private practice for 12 years.
Initially, his most important client was a startup venture capital firm. As his practice grew, Elisha hired an associate and several support staff. Once on his own, he honed his counseling skills. Many of his clients call him not just for legal advice, but to help them explore complex business challenges or develop concepts and strategies. In advising clients, he draws on the lessons learned from his own business involvements as well as from other representations. Elisha celebrates with his clients when their plans succeed and shares their frustrations at setbacks. As of counsel, to Schuyler, Roche & Crisham, he has the opportunity to draw on the additional resources of that well-respected firm, when a particular representative warrants it.
A renaissance man in no conventional sense, Elisha also plays in a rock band. Members of his group write and arrange nearly all their own music. The art of collaboration learned through this avocation has proven successful with clients. Working out musical differences over any number of songs has taught Elisha the result is often stronger when a group effort prevails over any one voice. When addressing a problem with a client-whether strategic, tactical or otherwise-he considers both parties members of a band trying to get a song right. Much as he would like to believe he has all the answers, Elisha knows clients alone may possess the knowledge necessary for their cases to succeed. Usually healthy and honest give-and-take between client and attorney yields a better result, he says, than when "the lawyer acts as oracle."
Troubleshooter to professionals, entrepreneurs and publicly traded companies, Elisha is a proven dealmaker and an artful negotiator. He helps to start, buy and sell businesses, to hire and terminate employees, to make investments and obtain funding and to borrow and lend money. He also helps draft contracts and policies that do what the clients intend them to do, usually in a way understandable to them and others. He considers himself an analyst foremost, the person who will tell his clients their thinking is wrong-and why-when no one else will. Recent areas of engagement include:
A new client once posed this problem to Elisha: the S-corporation he co-owned had done well the previous year, and he had a substantial tax payment due. His co-shareholder, however, who controlled the company's finances, would not distribute funds to cover that payment and in fact wanted Elisha's client out of the company. Elisha assembled a team of litigators and financial professionals, who tackled the problem tirelessly. Within four months, they had negotiated a deal in which his client became the company's sole shareholder-on very favorable terms. The client remains grateful to this day, says Elisha, for whom the most credible measure of achievement is client satisfaction. By this yardstick, consider the following accomplishments:
Ask who or what attracted him to law, and Elisha will cite Perry Mason. As a young man, he had wanted to be like him, to make a difference. "I am no Perry Mason," confesses Elisha, "but on a good day, I do make a difference." If Elisha Prero can be of service to you or your firm, please call.
J.D., University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1981.
Studies in Comparative Law, Hebrew University/Temple University Joint Program, Jerusalem, Israel, summer of 1979.
B.A., Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude, Loyola Key Award (highest rank/major in graduating class), Dean's List (two years), Psi Chi (National Psychology Honor Society) member, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1978.
Rabbinic Ordination, Brisk Rabbinical College, Chicago, Illinois, 1978.
Studies in Talmud, Yeshivat Har Etzion, Gush Etzion, Israel, summer of 1974 and 1977 to 1978.
Studies in Talmud, Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh, D.N. Evtach, Israel, 1972 to 1974.
Martindale-Hubbell, �peer review rated for ethical standards and legal ability,� since 2005.
"The Blue Pencil," a series of columns on legal editing in The CBA Record, 1988 to 1991.
Illinois, 1981 Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, 1981 United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, 1981
National Conference of Synagogue Youth, Greater Midwest Region, former chair of the Youth Commission, current chair of the Executive Committee, 1981 to present.
Rabbi, Young Israel of West Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois, 1994 to present.
Brisk Rabbinical College, Board of Directors, member, 1990 to present.
President, Congregation Adas Yeshurun, Chicago, Illinois, 1988 to 1990.
Member, Advisory Board, National Jewish Law Review, 1984 to 1987.
Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago, Board of Directors, member, 1984 to 1985.
Hillel Foundation, Lecturer on Jewish Philosophy and Ethics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 1982 to 1984.
Hillel Foundation, Lecturer on Jewish Philosophy and Ethics, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1979 to 1981.
Associate Rabbi, Young Israel of Southfield, Southfield, Michigan, 1979 to 1980.
Volunteer Chaplain, Jackson State Prison, Jackson, Michigan, 1979 to 1980.