My father was a lawyer. He practiced law in Birmingham for over 50 years. He had a good practice, a solid reputation and many friends both inside and outside of the profession. In short, he was great at what he did. When I was younger, I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow in his footsteps.
I remember late night calls coming into the house from clients. I remember long hours that he’d spend at the office, at court, or at a client’s house. I remember thinking that maybe I should be doing something else with my life – maybe I wasn’t cut out for the law. I did end upattending law school, though, and I returned home to Birmingham to practice corporate law at a larger firm in town.
One day, my dad called and said that he needed help on a significant case, and he’d like me to be a part of it. At first, I thought I would be helping him out. As it turns out, he was helping me. Working with him on that case and as his partner for the next 10 years, I learned about clients, myself and more about the law.
Through the practice of law with my father and with my partners, I learned that a majority of what we do is all about people, and those relationships matter. In turn, I have realized that I have been able to work to bring people together and resolve their problems while in litigation by working with the clients and opposing counsel and parties. That is what I have enjoyed and what led me to a mediation practice. Mediation elevates communication to allow those in conflict to resolve disputes through respect and thoughtful engagement. It is a very rewarding process which is not as easy as it might appear to some. There is strategy and technique, and that is what is fulfilling to me – using those strategies and techniques to help people move forward and away from the conflict.