For 20 years, attorney Joseph Tung has been working with businesses, giving them thoughtful representation and guidance. Tung has worked with a wide range of companies in the Houston, Texas area, from start-ups to established multi-nationals. His work encompasses a number of services including contract preparation, operational issues, and representation in court. There is little Tung won’t do to ensure his clients are successful and meet their goals.
A decade ago, Tung opened the doors to his very own law firm, Tung Law Firm, PLLC, providing top-notch service to those who need it. Opening his own firm gave Tung the chance to move out on his own and work more independently.
The former Texas Longhorn and SMU Mustang has focused his expertise on growth businesses thanks to his parents’ influence from owning their own company. It is an area of interest that has rubbed off on the attorney as the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Now companies in the growth sector are benefiting from Tung and his wide knowledge of business law.
Joseph, you have over 20 years of legal and business experience. Can you tell us how you got your start in the two fields?
From a young age, I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and an argumentative heart. Luckily, my parents encouraged me to explore both, and I was always active in fundraisers for various youth activities, but then my father challenged me to join the debate team in high school. From that point on, I continuously searched for a way to combine business and law together. The first place that came to fruition was at Founders Equity Group, a small venture capital group in Dallas, Texas, where I worked during law school.
Tung Law Firm works with businesses and investors at various stages of their growth process. What are some of the services your law firm provides its clients?
Some of the services my law firm offers includes forming legal entities, preparing contracts and legal documents, addressing every day personnel and operations issues, and representing clients in court.
Tung Law Firm offers clients a number of ways to benefit from working with it. Tung tailors his work to each client as he knows all companies are different. His flexibility as a lawyer gives businesses the freedom to do what they do best, make money.
How can businesses and investors benefit from partnering with Tung Law Firm?
My clients benefit from working with Tung Law Firm because they receive individual attention from concierge meetings at their offices to flexible pricing options and specific legal solutions tailored to the business needs.
Do you work more with start-up or established businesses? Which do you prefer to work with?
When I started my firm nearly a decade ago, almost all of my clients were start-ups, but now many of those businesses are established. I continue to represent start-ups at almost the same rate of mature businesses and sophisticated investors. I do not prefer one over the other as I thoroughly enjoy the challenges and rewards of working with both start-up and established businesses.
Growth businesses have long been an interest of Tung. He grew up with parents owning their own businesses and running franchises. Watching his family develop their own companies gave him a unique insight that now provides the basis to his area of expertise.
Tung Law Firm works with owners and investors of growth businesses. Can you explain why you focus on this area?
My parents are a big reason why I focus on this area of legal representation. They are business owners who have grown as franchisees of an international tutoring business for nearly 30 years. While I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked for an investment bank, an appellate judge, two major law firms, and a large oil services company, there is no substitute for representing people who love doing what they love to do.
What are some of the issues a business can incur that require legal representation? Are there far more issues most SMEs don’t realize they need a highly skilled lawyer for?
I don’t think there are more or less issues that subject matter experts realize, but most of my clients have discovered that their time and expertise is better spent on what they do best in generating profits and success for their business, while turning over legal matters to my law firm. Part of my job is to educate my clients, but they ultimately make the decision on what issues they wish to address internally, and what issues are best turned over to me.
Joseph Tung was a two-time debate National Champion at the University of Texas. Many of his clients may not realize it, but Tung was extremely active in the debate arena from his high school years and through his years of law practice. His unique achievement has helped him tremendously in the law field as a speaker, but also led him to coach debate and advocacy for nearly two decades. Tung is humbled by the numerous awards and titles he has been recognized with over the years. But he doesn’t rest on his laurels. Tung knows every day is different and to be successful he must continue providing great service to his clients.
In December 2018, Tung Law Firm was named the Best Law Firm of 2018 by the Best of Small Business Awards. How important is it to be recognized with an award for your work?
While I am grateful and humbled for the recognition, the importance of external awards ends as soon as a client presents a legal matter to be handled. The focus has to be providing the best possible legal representation because that is ultimately the reason for my law firm’s existence.
Joseph, you were a two-time National Champion in debate at Texas University. How important is your background in debate to being a lawyer? Can you share some of your unique experiences as a champion debate team member?
Debate gave me more than I can ever hope to give back, and it was a critical factor in my development as a lawyer. While I was at the University of Texas, my debate partners and I never won individual awards, but we were all part of a team that won back-to-back team national championships. Seeing the Tower lit up in burnt orange to celebrate those wins is something I will never forget, and it led to individual championships and awards a few years later when I competed in moot court on behalf of my law school. Specifically, I was named Outstanding Advocate by the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and I won best speaker honors at the John Marshall Information Technology & Privacy Moot Court Competition and the Duke University Rabbi Seymour Siegel Moot Court Competition. Most importantly, debate gave me a foundation in critical thinking, public speaking, team work, and service that has stayed with me all my life.
Tung Law Firm is located in Houston, Texas. Do you work mostly with businesses in and around the Houston metro area or does the law firm represent businesses from other parts of the state as well?
The majority of my clients are located in Houston. That being said, I have represented clients with activity all around the world.
This year Tung Law Firm will celebrate its 10th anniversary. But Tung stresses it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. He faced the same issues many of his clients did when they were first starting out. It gives him even more perspective when representing start-up companies and new clients.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the law firm. Can you tell us about the challenges you were able to overcome to reach this point?
Like all start-up businesses, the first challenge is cash flow survival and profitability. After that, the challenge has been balancing the growth rate against everyday life occurrences. Whether it’s the business cycle or the life cycle, I think everyone has to balance the realities of life when their business is primarily dependent on them, and I am no exception.
Joseph, what is a day in your life like?
No two days are the same in my life, but I am an early riser. By 6 a.m. most days, I am awake and planning out my day. My day will most likely include emails, phone calls, and meetings, but most of them take place either at home or at my clients’ offices. I make it a habit to take as many breaks throughout the day as necessary to do a little reading, watch a little television, and try some meditation. Rather than try to cram as many things as possible into my day, my goal is to make sure I complete at least three tasks a day.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I was born in Rochester, Minnesota when my father started his first job and career at IBM.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Albert Einstein, as much for his scientific contributions, but also because he lived such a quirky personal life that involved leaving his wife and marrying his cousin, to turning down the presidency of Israel.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift… that’s why they call it the present.” – Master Oogway and Eleanor Roosevelt
“Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.” – Ellen DeGeneres
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
If I had the power to change just one thing in the world, it would be to curb human violence.
Part of being human means we have emotions – such as love and hate, happiness and anger, joy and sadness – but it also means we have the ability to choose not to act violently on those emotions.
My love for the law and my love for business reflects my desire to have peaceful means in order for every person to pursue prosperity.
Joseph, is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you to the readers for reading this interview and TotalPrestige for giving me this opportunity.
Tung’s interest in business and law has been providing clients advice and representation for the last 20 years. His law firm, which Tung has overseen for half that time, continues to grow with each new client it works with.
The concierge law firm works with businesses no matter their stage. With a diverse list of clientele from technology to oil and gas, Tung Law Firm provides insight other firms lack.
From National Champion to championing growth businesses, Joseph Tung continues to follow his passion for law and business.
For more information, please visit www.tunglawfirm.com
Images courtesy of Len Wehrung
Journalist and author. Contributor