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Leadership Corner: Steve M., Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer

Philadelphia-area native Steve M.’s cumulative industry experience spans 35 years, with 23 years practicing law, where many of his clients were mortgage-related entities. Following his time at a mortgage investment-related hedge fund, he joined Freedom Mortgage in 2016.

Steve oversees all legal matters for Freedom Mortgage, ranging from contracts, transactions (deals, mergers, and acquisitions), litigation, licensing, and regulatory matters. The Freedom Mortgage Pavilion is an example of an exciting, recent contract.

Steve has been married for over 31 years and has three grown children. His three main hobbies are golf, skiing, and poker. Although poker is a pastime, Steve finds that there are many, many lessons from poker that translate to business, life, and legal.

“I am an avid poker player, and no matter how much I play and study, there is always more to learn,” Steve told us. “Poker reinforces numerous concepts that are also valuable in business and in life in general. First and foremost, you can’t just play your own hand. Instead, you must use every bit of information available to make an educated guess about what cards your opponents have and what they might be thinking. In business and in life, it always helps to try to understand the other person’s perspective. What are they thinking? How does what they are saying or doing help you deduce what they might be trying to achieve? What might their strategy be?”

“Also, poker, like life, is a game of ‘imperfect information,’ meaning that some aspect of play is hidden from opponents, as opposed to games like chess, which is a game of ‘perfect information,’ because both players see the entire board, and nothing is hidden,” Steve continued. “In poker, you make the best decision you can based on the imperfect information you have, then throw in an element of luck involving things you can’t control (such as cards that will be revealed only after you make your decision). In poker and in life, good decisions are frequently rewarded, but not always, because even a perfect decision based on the information available can lead to a poor result due to unknown information and/or an unlucky subsequent event that is beyond your control.”

“Poker players know that not every good decision gets rewarded, but that over time, if you consistently make good decisions, you will come out ahead in the long run,” Steve concluded.

Fun Facts About Steve:

  • Steve’s school motto was “Good instruction is better than riches,” and he agrees with that.
  • An avid Rolling Stones fan, Steve has attended every Rolling Stones concert in Philly since 1981!

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