But in other ways, he's very different from the hackers he pursues.
Schindler is not particularly technical -- purposefully so, in case he has to explain complicated matters to judges or juries. And while hackers thrive in a world of bluster and bravado -- often bragging about and even exaggerating their latest exploits -- the lanky, curly-haired Schindler doesn't actively seek the spotlight. When confronted with it, he raises his thick black eyebrows and shrugs.
His demeanor is defined by a subtle, unflappable confidence. He also can endure irritations, such as arduous investigations and scorching Arizona summers, that would drive most people over the edge.
During the Symington case, he hopped a plane to Phoenix every Tuesday morning and returned every Thursday night.
Worse, Isaacs said, the pair flew Southwest Airlines. That meant a weekly ritual of clutching brightly coloured plastic boarding passes and joining the cattle call of people vying for choice seats on the plane. "No matter how bad it got, Dave never complained," Isaacs said. Friends say Schindler's not a stereotypical prosecutor, the tunnel-visioned lawyer who'll doggedly pursue even those cases that have little merit. "He's guided by the principle of doing the right thing," said Karen Lash, associate dean of the USC Law School, and a friend of Schindler's since the first grade. "He's a zealous prosecutor when he believes that's appropriate. If he's got a weak case, he'll let go of it."
Schindler himself said his politics are as well-suited to being a public defender as a prosecutor, but it's unlikely he'll be representing accused hackers anytime soon. First, he doesn't think they'd want him -- though Poulsen disagrees. Second, even if they did want him, hackers probably couldn't afford him in his new role.
Schindler, who holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and a law degree from UCLA, wouldn't comment on his new salary, but friends estimated he'll at least double, if not triple, his $115,000 prosecutor's pay. According to a 1999 survey by American Lawyer magazine, Latham & Watkins ranked fourth out of the top 100 law firms in total revenue in its 1999 survey.
Schindler said he's going to miss the prosecutors' office, especially working with other agents and lawyers, and representing the U.S. for a living.
But he's also looking forward to the intellectual challenge of representing cutting-edge clients such as America Online and Apple, and the chance to work for a posh firm with an extensive library and support staff -- a firm that just might let him fly first class.
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