BY JENNIFER KURLE AND AARON MARKS
Participants for this feature in order of speaker:
Bell Law Firm
Terrence Lee Croft
Robert W. Hughes & Associates
Rafi Law Firm
Schnyder Law Firm
Stubbs Law Office
Ryan A. Johnson
Ryan A. Johnson, P.C.
Alex E. Seay
Bird Law Group, P.C.
I am shocked at having been in practice for more than 50 years.
: Six years.
I have been practicing law for almost three years.
My biggest surprise is how often the cases I handle end up changing my life, from my personal relationships to my long-held views of the world.
Congeniality of other lawyers
The law is the easy part; the facts are the hard part.
How much emotion influences the end result of cases.
How unpredictable judges and juries can be.
That even the most experienced lawyers do not have all the answers.
The biggest surprise at this point has been just how prevalent medical malpractice claims are.
How quickly trial practice and strategy evolves.
My biggest challenge has been work-life balance; trial law is all consuming and can monopolize every free moment of your life, so it takes extreme effort to balance all the important areas of my life.
I have been challenged by practicing with six different firms and over 700 different lawyers.
Non-congeniality of other lawyers.
Starting my own law firm—thankfully many lawyers, including many GTLA members, have offered help and advice and continue to do so.
Learning to take myself out of a case and focus on the facts and the law.
Balancing family and work.
Learning how to communicate and connect with clients from very different backgrounds.
The biggest challenge has been not letting my emotions guide whether to take on a case or what the next step in a case should be.
Trying to push cases forward in the face of dilatory tactics.
Trying large cases to juries.
I really enjoy being around lawyers. They are interesting and good story tellers.
Helping deserving folks.
The competition, especially since a positive result usually means righting a wrong.
Making a real difference in my clients’ lives.
Helping my clients get their lives on a better track.
I enjoy the part of the case when your client is finally vindicated after being told for years that they were wrong.
This may sound cliché, but I really enjoy knowing that we are helping people—usually in one of the worst times of their life.
The challenge of devising an effective case strategy.
Office management, the mundane tasks that require attention.
Dealing with court calendar calls and delays that cost my clients money, added tension and anxiousness.
The business-side of running a law firm.
Paperwork and accounting.
I do not enjoy handling the administrative side of a law practice.
I think it may be too early in my career to have a part I truly do not enjoy, but if I had to pick something it would be when the facts and law are on your side, but it appears a bias or a stereotype decides the case should go in a different direction.
The length of time it takes to get a case to trial.
I wish someone had told me to make the time to attend the trials of more experienced trial lawyers.
I wish I had realized that every lawyer I met, including my opponents, might someday consider hiring me as an ADR neutral for that lawyer’s case.
Specialize in an area. Don’t try to run a general practice.
Learn from others, but be yourself.
Believe in yourself and study hard; everything else will come eventually.
Be a nurse.
Take time to get to know your clients at the beginning of the case.
I wish someone would have told me that it is just as important to get involved in the legal community early as it is to work hard and grow in your position at a firm.
How important it is to continually learn and push the envelope. To be effective, you have to be willing to leave your comfort zone.