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BOOKSHELF Local attorney is on roster of ‘Success’ authors

September 14. 2013 8:16PM

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Author: Bernard Walter and others

Publisher: Celebrity Press


Attorney Bernard Walter’s secrets to success are no longer under wraps. You can find the Back Mountain attorney’s tips in Chapter 18 of an Amazon bestseller co-written by Jack Canfield of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” fame.

Walter, 66, joined Canfield and 35 other “leading experts” to co-author the book. Walter’s chapter is called “Doing the Right Thing for Success.”

The Harveys Lake resident now works in private practice, primarily out of offices in Shavertown and Wilkes-Barre but also in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He’s a former celibate monk who later went to law school and became an assistant district attorney in San Francisco.

Walter, a lector at St. Therese Church in Shavertown, founded the legal side of the Free Back Mountain Medical/Legal Clinic in 1996 and the Elder Law Committee of the local bar association. He and his friends in Dallas also make wine, and the fruit of their labors has garnered awards each year for nearly 10 years at the Corrado’s East Coast Amateur Winemakers Competition in New Jersey.

The book has reached bestseller status in seven business categories, according to a Celebrity Press news release. The royalties from the publication will go to the not-for-profit Entrepreneur’s International Foundation.

Times Leader: How did you get involved with the book?

Walter: I was contacted by (Jack Canfield’s) agent. It was just because I have a very unusual background in law. I try to develop a win-win strategy in law. … In other words, winning is about doing the right thing. That might mean if you’re playing tennis and the ball is hit to you and you see it’s out, you call it out; if it’s in and close to the line, you call it in, even if you lose the game. A lot of leaders in today’s society don’t seem to subscribe to that view.

I’ve lived in Hawaii; I’ve lived in San Francisco; I was born in Boston; I went to high school in Portugal. … I finished high school in France. …I went to school in Japan. …I went to college at (the University of California) Berkeley. Living in other cultures with other styles of clothes, music, it forces an individual to open his eyes to other views in the world.

TL: What are your secrets for success?

Walter: I think the first thing to recognize is the two faces of ego: There is the dark side of the ego, which is selfish, greedy, manipulative, cunning and willing to hurt others for personal benefit. The bright side of the ego aspires to greatness, loves education, loves personal service to benefit others and make the world a better place. The bright side of the ego is competitive but against the dark side of others. … We all have the capacity to be Olympic players in our own lives, seeking excellence in everything we do, from washing dishes to mowing lawns to looking a customer in the eye, shaking his hand and making a business transaction that benefits both sides.

TL: Have you lived by this philosophy your whole life?

Walter: I’ve made mistakes. There were times I haven’t learned from the good examples of others and have said things and done things I later regretted.

One of my mentors once said the saddest words that can be said are “he could have but didn’t,” and that’s what this book is about — stirring the embers of the heart and firing aspirations to step out of slumbering routines that waste years of our lives.

TL: How long have you lived in this area?

Walter: We bought our home in 1993 in Dallas and (later) bought a house at Harveys Lake.

TL: How did you end up here?

Walter: My wife (Roberta) is from here. She ran the Mr. B Fashion Stores. (She has three sons, Robert, Richard and Ryan Costello.)

TL: Tell us about your background as a monk.

Walter: I was a monk for nine years in California, Nevada and abroad. At Berkeley I was a pre-med student. I guess I was a little unlucky. All my internships were in doctors’ offices where the doctor was more in love with money than healing. … I wanted to take a semester off, and there was a monastery in the mountains in Nevada, and from there, I transferred between monasteries.

TL: Why did you leave the monastery?

Walter: I just came to a point in my life where I was ready to “graduate.” So I went to a philosophy professor (at the California Institute of Asian Studies). I fell in love with his protege, and she was going to law school. I didn’t want to be a lawyer, but I loved her.

TL: What about your winemaking?

Walter: My great-grandfather lived in San Francisco (and made wine). I was fifth-generation San Francisco, from 1849, right back to the gold rush. My father was a captain in the Navy; that’s why we traveled a lot. In Portugal there are many vineyards; in France there are many vineyards. In graduate school and law school, I worked at five-star French and Italian restaurants in San Francisco. When I moved to Dallas I found some people who were making wine.

TL: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Walter: As far as the book, the goal is make it a wake-up call for people to reach out to their own greatness and make the world better for ourselves and our loved ones. Lawyers’ work is a personal service industry where heart and mind must work together to heal wounds to remedy problems and, ideally, to prevent them in the first place.

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