As a golf professional, Colin Walshok ’07 knows all about competition—and he relishes it!
As a teaching professional, he got the chance to play many of the great courses in the U.S., as well as run an inner-city junior golf academy.
Whereas golf was, and always will be, a passion for Walshok, his competitive spirit drove him to want more. He sought the advice of a long-time family friend, Michael H. Dessent, California Western’s Dean Emeritus. Dessent talked to him about how a law career would open up so many options for him professionally and would allow him to pursue various career interests.
“I found that to be very appealing,” recalls Walshok. “I am a competitor, and the law is very competitive in the litigation setting. It appealed to my personality, and I wanted to challenge myself intellectually.”
Walshok excelled at California Western, graduating magna cum laude, and praised the faculty for pushing him to challenge his limits.
“I recall Professor Jan Stiglitz grilling me on a Civil Procedure case as a 1L for an entire class in front of 90 students,” says Walshok. “He would not move to another student but continued to grill me on the intricacies of civil procedure in the case we were discussing at that time. I had multiple people come up to me after class was over, congratulating me for holding my own. I still value what he taught me in my practice today. He was a great mentor.”
Naturally, Walshok played in the Cal Western Alumni Golf Tournament as a 1L, serendipitously paired with San Diego-based Wingert Grebing attorney Chris Todd ’86.
“Chris and I hit it off, and he helped me get a clerk position as a 1L at Wingert,” says Walshok. “I stayed on as a clerk through law school, was hired as an associate, then worked my way up to partner.”
Today, Walshok focuses on personal injury, construction, and professional liability matters at Wingert, but still finds time to advise both golf professionals and golf companies on contracts, appropriate business structures, and methods to avoid future litigation.
“It is a very small component of my legal work but some of the most rewarding,” admits Walshok.
He recently wrote an op-ed in the San Diego Daily Transcript on the challenges the golf professional industry will face with the Implementation of Assembly Bill 5, which limits the use of classifying workers as independent contractors.
“AB 5 was intended to target the ‘gig economy’ that has emerged from entities such as Lyft and Uber,” writes Walshok. “But the golf industry has been swept up in the politics of the current changing economy.”
As a litigator, Walshok has successfully tried and arbitrated multiple cases. His first jury trial remains his favorite, where he represented the plaintiff in a lawsuit against one of the members of the band Metallica.
“I prevailed for my client, demonstrating she was hired to work for his family as a personal assistant based on the promissory estoppel theory, which is the legal principle that a promise is enforceable by law, even if made without formal consideration,” recounts Walshok. “It was especially pleasing as the victory enabled this family to continue to pursue their ‘American Dream.’”
Throughout his career, Walshok has pushed himself to do the things he feared, and much of that he attributes to the advice he received from his criminal law professor, Art Campbell.
“If you are not scared, you are not pushing yourself to take on new challenges,” he would say.
Walshok’s advice to current California Western students is to “be the total package” and learn how to be both a great student and an oral advocate.
“Put everything you have into your time at Cal Western,” he says. “Take advantage of the great professors that are available.”