Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 1
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

White chose law, but felt the call of fire fighting, surfing

The lawyer who worked on the financing of the recent spate of metro New York stadiums nearly chose a career fighting fires.

When he’s not advising clients, Peter White still finds time to catch some waves.
Peter White, co-chair of the sports, media and entertainment practice at DLA Piper, was a month away from graduation from St. John’s law school in 1984 when he landed a job offer he thought might fit perfectly into his lifestyle. An avid surfer, White had taken the test to join the New York City fire department. He figured he could surf between shifts and retire at a young enough age to still be able to travel the world with his board.

When the fire department called with an offer, White told his wife he thought it might be the right move.

“You just went to law school for three years,” she responded. “Why don’t you try being a lawyer?”

“At that point in my life, all I was really concerned about was planning my next surf trip,” said White, who worked as a lifeguard at Jones Beach through his youth. “It really could have gone one way or the other. I might be retired from the fire department and surfing in Australia right now.”