Firm News Feed Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0800firmwise Welcomes New Associates<p>Congratulations to the four associates sworn in to practice law in the state of Florida this week!</p> <ul> <li>Jessica Baik graduated from Stetson University College of Law and joins the Tampa office.</li> <li>Freddy Kasten graduated from the University of Miami School of Law and joins the Miami office.</li> <li>Michaela Kirn graduated from Stetson University College of Law and joins the Orlando office.</li> <li>Sara Lewis is now admitted to the Florida Bar in addition to Illinois, New Jersey and New York and works out of the Orlando office.</li> </ul> <img src=" and Lewis-Swearing In-no outline.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="220" height="331" /><img src=" In-no outline.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="220" height="337" /><img src=" In-no outline.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="350" height="302" />Beyond the Bio Blog25 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Win for the Troops!<p><em><strong>Rumberger, Kirk &amp; Caldwell shipped 44 packages to 15 units serving in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Qatar and Africa<br /> <br /> </strong></em><img src=" Troop Shipment_1a.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="248" />The Rumberger team pulled out another win for the troops sending fall-themed packages across the globe to soldiers, sailors and marines serving overseas. The &ldquo;football and s&rsquo;mores&rdquo; packages were filled with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars to make s&rsquo;mores, mini footballs, snacks, treats and all of the personal care items that are either expensive or difficult to come by for military troops serving in remote locations.</p> <p>&ldquo;Items we take for granted every day, like soap, razors, baby powder, toothpaste, wipes, sunscreen and socks, are treasures to these service men and women,&rdquo; explained Lisa Griffin, a legal assistant at the firm who began this program more than 10 years ago and coordinates shipments 3-4 times a year.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our goal is to make sure they know how much they are appreciated,&rdquo; she added.&nbsp; &ldquo;In addition to the personal care items, we like to include treats, snacks, coffee and drink mixes to make the packages extra special.&rdquo;</p> <p>Every few months, the Rumberger team donates all of the supplies and money to cover purchasing additional supplies and shipping, as well as their personal time to pack boxes during their lunch hour.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m always so thankful each time for the magnificent support that makes these shipments possible,&rdquo; said Lisa.&nbsp; &ldquo;We even get help from our partners including Orange Legal and Milestone Reporting.&quot;<br /> <img src=" Troop Shipment_Combined.jpg" hspace="3" vspace="3" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="450" height="197" /><br /> <img src=" Troop Shipment_7a.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="450" height="351" /></p>Beyond the Bio Blog17 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0800 and Bingo with the Vets<p>Vaughn Glinton and Robert Barton honored our veterans at the VA Domiciliary in Baldwin Park as part of the Orange County Bar Association Young Lawyers&rsquo; BBQ &amp; Bingo event. The group spent the evening playing Bingo and donated requested items for the vets.<img src=" Lawyers-BBQ and Bingo.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="450" height="212" /><br /> <img src=" Lawyers-BBQ and Bingo_Combined.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="450" height="137" /><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog12 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Arends Joins the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Board of Trustees, Suncoast Chapter<p>Congratulations to <a href=";t=3&amp;A=19099">Rebecca Arends</a> who was appointed to the Suncoast Chapter of The Leukemia &amp; Lymphoma Society Board of Trustees. Her three-year term runs from August 2019 through June 30, 2022.</p> <p>Rebecca&rsquo;s personal connection with Leukemia drives her motivation to serve the organization and help to reach its mission. During her first year of law school in 2013, Rebecca was given a pre-diagnosis of Leukemia and spent nine months in treatment at Florida Cancer Specialists until she was officially cleared in 2014.</p> <p>In 2016, the Suncoast Chapter of the Leukemia &amp; Lymphoma Society asked Rebecca to be develop and lead the Young Professional Council, a board of 30 young professionals from throughout the Tampa Bay Community dedicated to the fight against blood cancers. She chaired the Young Professional Council for the last three years raising over $30,000 for blood cancer treatment, most of which has gone directly back into the Tampa Bay community for local patients.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">About The Leukemia &amp; Lymphoma Society (LLS):</a> LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.</p>Beyond the Bio Blog22 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0800 and about in the Community: Delivering Backpacks for Back to School<p>Justin Guido, an associate in Miami, serves as the Chair of the Community Outreach Committee of the YMCA Young Professionals of South Florida. The Community Outreach Committee assisted in distributing snacks and school supplies at the &ldquo;Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway&rdquo; on Saturday, August 10 at the Juan Pablo Duarte Park sponsored by City of Miami Commissioner Willy Gort.<br /> <img src=" Outreach Backpack drive 2019.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="450" height="320" /></p> <br />Beyond the Bio Blog14 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Call to Duty – Steve Berlin's Path to West Point and Beyond<p><i>Steve Berlin Talks about his desire to serve his country, his work as an Army JAG officer and how his 20-year Military Career prepared him for the Work he does today.</i></p> <img src=", Steve-Iraq.JPG" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="187" /> <p><b>Before Steve knew he wanted to be a lawyer, he wanted to serve his country.</b> He grew up in a working class family in Saint Petersburg, the son of an Army officer who served in Vietnam and a Vietnamese mother. His parents met after his father returned to Vietnam as part of the civil service. &ldquo;I never met my maternal relatives because they were all living under the North Vietnamese regime that was very oppressive at the time,&rdquo; said Steve. Thankful for all he saw the country had given his family, Steve says he always felt a strong desire to serve.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><em>Steve&nbsp;meeting with the Anbar Province, <br /> Iraq Chief Investigative Judge in Iraq</em></p> <p>Steve remembers watching a documentary about West Point with his dad. &ldquo;He told me that West Point was where generals go to school and that it was a place for people with connections,&rdquo; remembered Steve.</p> <p>When Steve was 13, his dad died and never knew that his hard working son would one day earn a spot at West Point. &ldquo;My mother worked very hard and she was always pushing me to work and study harder,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;She would always say &lsquo;nobody will give you anything.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Every cadet at West Point is required to take a Constitutional Law class, but Berlin was surprised by how much he liked it. &ldquo;I never considered law, but while serving as an army officer in Germany, I had a discussion with a judge advocate and I was convinced,&rdquo; he admitted.</p> <p><b>After he completed his tour as a field artillery officer, Steve attended law school and became and Army JAG officer.</b> His career spanned 20 years working both as a criminal litigator and as in-house counsel throughout the years. &ldquo;My work as a judge advocate was very fulfilling,&rdquo; said Steve. &ldquo;I enjoyed helping others through times of crisis and presenting solutions to serious problems.&rdquo;</p> <p>Designated an Expert Military Justice Practitioner, Steve prosecuted more than sixty courts-martial with a heavy emphasis on crimes involving sexual and family violence. He began in Fort Knox, Kentucky where he became the senior prosecutor and also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. He later was a member of the Army&rsquo;s first cohort of Special Victim Prosecutors. This program returned experienced prosecutors to the courtroom to stem the concerns surrounding sexual and family violence. In this position, he received advanced training in forensics, medical evidence, and advocacy. &ldquo;I truly enjoyed helping those victims who felt mistreated by the system and world get through their darkest hour,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>As in-house counsel, Steve helped military commanders solve sensitive, complex problems. He was responsible for a variety of legal disciplines from operational law and military justice to administrative law, investigation, claims, and fiscal law. He has served extensively as an ethics counselor. He was the senior legal advisor to an Airborne Brigade Combat Team that deployed to Anbar Province, Iraq. There, he was also the senior military rule of law advisor. He was also the Staff Judge Advocate for the Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-Syria and was an in-house legal advisor at U.S. Special Operations and Central Commands.</p> <img src=", Steve-National American Pacific American Bar Association gala.JPEG" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="187" /> <p><b>&ldquo;My work as an Army JAG officer taught me to handle a high volume of work and manage extremely stressful situations,&rdquo; </b>noted Steve. &ldquo;I have a lot of experience working with executives in stressful situations, which transitions well into the product liability and casualty litigation work I&rsquo;m doing, now,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p><em><br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Steve Berlin at the National American Pacific ABA gala with two law students, Major General Thomas Ayres and Colonel Kay Wakatake.&nbsp;They discussed efforts to combat sexual violence in the Army.&nbsp;<br /> </em></p> <p><strong>In his work, Steve focuses on issues involving the legal impacts of using technology. </strong>As one who enjoys solving complex problems, he is thrilled to be helping companies with data privacy and cybersecurity compliance.<br /> <br /> &quot;With data privacy, I help companies ensure they are properly handling the data they have and with cybersecurity, we work to keep data away from those who aren&rsquo;t supposed to have it,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;I help ensure companies have the right policies in place to manage the data they have and also to protect and be prepared for an attack. After a breach or incident, I help companies with the response and litigation if necessary.&rdquo;</p> <p>In addition, Steve handles premises liability cases, as well as first property home insurance defense where he represents home insurance companies in claims dispute litigation. He also works with the defense contracting community on a wide variety of legal issues.</p> <p>&ldquo;My work is stimulating and interesting,&rdquo; said Steve. &ldquo;I enjoy the challenge of working on issues that are relevant and evolving,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p><b>Steve was attracted to Rumberger&rsquo;s commitment to performing at high levels for clients. </b>&ldquo;Everyone is extremely professional, constructive and helpful,&rdquo; said Steve. &ldquo;Rumberger does a great job of hiring talent and refining and developing that talent,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;There is a focus on modeling positive behavior and showing how things are done, or how something could be done better in order to reach a higher standard or result. Coming from the Army, I&rsquo;m used to excellent training and Rumberger has a great training model,&rdquo; he continued.</p> <img src=", Steve-Family photo.JPG" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="155" /> <p><b>When he&rsquo;s not working, Steve says you can find him at the pool helping with his daughter&rsquo;s swim meets or working out. </b>He and his wife of 21 years have two kids&mdash;a son studying computer science at the University of Florida and their high school-aged daughter who is a competitive swimmer.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I was in the Army, working out used to be something I had to do and was all about performance, but now my workout is for fun and myself. I work out as much as I can and like to go first thing in the morning before work,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p>Steve&rsquo;s got a soft spot for the family dog, Winnie, who they fostered and then rescued. &ldquo;She was the runt of the litter. We fostered her and her sister, but we just had to keep her. We&rsquo;re not sure what breed she is, but she looks like she is part Labrador Retriever and part Dachshund. She has the coloring of a lab, but short legs and loves to chase small animals,&rdquo; he laughed.</p> <p>Coming from Florida, it&rsquo;s not surprising that Steve and his family enjoy spending time together at theme parks. &ldquo;We had passes for all of the Florida parks, but we also would go wherever we moved,&rdquo; he explained. Steve remembered one of the best trips was after his return from Iraq. &ldquo;The kids were excused from school, so we went to Universal Orlando right after the opening of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. It was great because it was the middle of the school week and nobody was there!&rdquo;&nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog02 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Mock Trial in the Books!<p><img src=" 19-Mock Trial_1.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="400" height="266" /><br /> <em>Summer Assocate Phoenix Barker during the mock trial.&nbsp;</em><br /> <br /> Our summer associates, Paris Baker, Phoenix Barker, Grace Kobitter and Eric Lyerly finished their work this summer with our annual mock trial held on Monday, July 29 in our Orlando office.</p> <p>They prepared and competed on teams of two. Each team participated in two trials (once as plaintiff and once as defendant).&nbsp;Each summer associate did motions in limine, an opening, closing, direct, and cross of a witness. The summer associates had about three weeks to prepare, and several attorneys in each office volunteered as coaches and witnesses.&nbsp;</p> <p>The case involved the Plaintiff who was a widow claiming that her husband/pilot died when his plane went out of control as the result of a defective and malfunctioning fuel pump switch.&nbsp;The defendant, the aircraft company, claimed that the fuel pump switch was working properly and that the pilot/husband either intentionally crashed the plane committing suicide, or that the accident was caused by pilot error.</p> <img src=" 19-Mock Trial_3.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="166" /> <p>Eric Lyerly, a student from Stetson University who split time working in our Orlando and Birmingham offices, said the mock trial felt like boxing. &ldquo;You have to roll with the punches. Inevitably, testimony or evidence you thought was unobjectionable is ruled inadmissible. These moments change the tone of the case and alter carefully crafted trial strategy,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I suppose what makes a good lawyer, to quote Rocky Balboa, is &lsquo;how hard [they] can get hit and keep moving forward.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><br /> Paris Baker, a Barry University student who worked in the Orlando office, felt ready to deliver the opening statement said, &ldquo;Honestly, there were some things that didn&rsquo;t go our way the first trial and it initially had us in a slump. There was evidence being kept out, objections being sustained on their end and overruled on our end, but Phoenix and I were still able to overcome and finish strong,&rdquo; she said.</p> <img src=" 19-MockTrial_2.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="166" /> <p>The partners serving as judges offered advice to the summer associates between trials. &ldquo;Dan Gerber emphasized the importance of passion and telling the story. David Shelton focused on knowing the legal arguments and evidentiary rules. Rob Blank echoed their sentiments and said that we were much better in the afternoon,&rdquo; said Paris.</p> <p>Grace Kobitter, a Stetson University student who worked in Tampa said she and her team member Eric put a lot of long hours into the mock trial, so they walked into the boardroom feeling confident. &ldquo;Getting certain pieces of evidence admitted was difficult, and some of Chief Judge Rob Blank&rsquo;s rulings really required us to rethink how we could prove the elements without a specific fact or exhibit&mdash;this was definitely true in the plaintiff&rsquo;s case! But it had us think on our feet and learn to be flexible under pressure.&rdquo;</p> <p>Special thanks to Patrick Delaney who did a great job coordinating the competition from start to finish this summer, and also to the mentors, coaches, witnesses, seminar presenters, IT support, office services and administration team who helped behind the scenes with guidance, encouragement, and support in multiple ways.</p> <p>We wish our summer associates a fond farewell and best of luck in the future endeavors.&nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog02 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Success: Meredith Lees Employs Creative Strategies in Her Professional and Personal Life<p>Meredith Lees, a partner in the Birmingham office, has built a diverse commercial litigation practice with extensive experience in securities cases, broker-dealer matters and arbitration. She also focuses on premises liability for small and large business owners and maintains a diverse insurance practice including claims related to life, health and disability, bad faith/fraud and other complex claims against the insurance and financial services industry.</p> <p>When tackling these complex cases, Meredith enjoys finding inventive and creative strategies for clients. It&rsquo;s that knack for creativity that has led her to also find enjoyment in restoring her home, as well as assist in designing the Birmingham offices a few years ago. Meredith talks about her practice and the innovative ways she approaches cases using social media and electronic discovery (e-discovery) and how she spends her time when she is away from work.</p> <p><b>&ldquo;One of the things I truly enjoy about my work is being exposed to many different types of businesses,&rdquo; </b>says Meredith. &ldquo;I like getting to know a wide variety of people, learning about the clients&rsquo; businesses and finding ways that I can help them. The case law is the same and having a strong knowledge of the case law allows me to apply it to many industries and many unique situations,&rdquo; she continued.</p> <p>In her work, Meredith has represented a wide variety businesses from institutional and individual investors (including state pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, financial institutions, and private retirement funds) as well as public and private corporations, governmental entities, apartment complexes and stores.</p> <p><b>&ldquo;Having a creative mind can help you see what something can become,&rdquo; noted Meredith. &ldquo;That can be helpful in litigation. You have to see through the case and find ways to affect the outcome of litigation,&rdquo; she explained. One way Meredith has been able to do this is through use of social media and e-discovery.</b></p> <p>&ldquo;I find the use of social media and its effects on the outcome of litigation very interesting,&rdquo; said Meredith. &ldquo;In one particular case, we were able to use social media to show that the plaintiff&rsquo;s claim did not occur, resulting in a favorable outcome for the client,&rdquo; she continued.</p> <p>Meredith often lectures on emerging issues such as best practices for e-discovery and use of social media in litigation. &ldquo;In my lectures, I focus on identifying what everyone&rsquo;s burden and responsibilities are under civil procedure,&rdquo; explained Meredith. Her talks often focus on utilizing best practices in searching, finding and reviewing information.</p> <p>&ldquo;On one hand, e-discovery has made things easier, but on the other, it&rsquo;s exponentially harder because there&rsquo;s so much more to look through. A case that once would have had 10,000 documents to review will now have 100,000 documents. This makes it more difficult to locate relevant documents and much more expensive for all the parties involved,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>In her lectures, Meredith uses her extensive experience to discuss the essential need for parties to communicate early and often since so much of e-discovery is specialized and discusses many of the pitfalls to avoid. She also discusses strategies for getting access to social media.</p> <p><b>Meredith&rsquo;s focus on detail serves her extremely well as a litigator, but it also has led her to discover her passion for renovation and design. </b></p> <p>When Rumberger&rsquo;s Birmingham office moved into Downtown Birmingham, Meredith was pleased to be in charge of the design process and build out. She worked with the architect and designers along with her colleague Rebecca Beers, a partner in the Birmingham office, to create a warm, modern environment for their new offices.</p> <p>&ldquo;I truly enjoyed the process of watching it go from blueprint to finished product and had fun working with Rebecca to pick out the wall color, coverings, flooring, etc.,&rdquo; said Meredith. As you can guess, Meredith is a big fan of HGTV and says her all-time favorite designer is Candice Olson.</p> <p><b>Meredith also uses her creative gene to come up with food that her extremely picky eight-year-old son will eat. </b>&ldquo;He likes to help in the kitchen and since he&rsquo;s such a picky eater, I try to get him more excited about different foods by having him help to prepare them,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And, while I really do enjoy cooking, I don&rsquo;t have a lot of time for it. I spend many Sundays prepping food and planning for the week, which has been helpful in reaching my New Year&rsquo;s resolution to eat at home at least three times a week,&rdquo; she shared.</p> <p><b>&ldquo;While my husband and I both work a lot, we are still able to spend a lot of time with our son,&rdquo; said Meredith.</b> He&rsquo;s involved in a wide variety of sports throughout the year including baseball, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming and wrestling. &ldquo;Our weekends definitely involve a lot of time spent at one field or sporting event or another,&rdquo; she laughed. In addition, the family squeezes in travel whenever possible. &ldquo;We like traveling and experiencing different places,&rdquo; noted Meredith. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve taken him to Disney World, which he enjoys of course, but he especially likes visiting historical places like Washington D.C., Boston and New York. We&rsquo;ve also taken him as far as Hawaii, Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic. We&rsquo;re all really looking forward to our trip to British Columbia this summer.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Meredith noted that Rumberger&rsquo;s collaborative environment definitely helps her maintain a good balance between work and family.</b> &ldquo;The attorneys and staff at RKC are so supportive and helpful to each other. I am thankful to be part of an environment that fosters teamwork and friendship.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog23 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Duke: Having a Career and Family are not Mutually Exclusive<img src=" Duke BTB_hiking2.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="300" height="224" /> <p><b>Samantha Duke has always liked to be challenged, which is exactly what she likes about her practice that is focused on consumer and product defense and class actions. </b>Growing up in Gainesville, Samantha says she was always a good student and was motivated to take on tough courses that were thought-provoking and challenging. Years later, Samantha says these are the same qualities she enjoys most about her law practice and work. &ldquo;I like that each case is different, complicated and interesting,&rdquo; she said. Samantha joined Rumberger eight years ago and began working with partner Doug Brown on consumer defense claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA).</p> <p>&ldquo;Consumer defense claims cases lend themselves to class action lawsuits,&rdquo; explained Samantha. &ldquo;These cases are typically economic injury cases based on an advertising claim or claim of defective product without injury. &ldquo;Because the stakes are typically high in these cases, you get to explore creative, new and interesting defenses,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I like the opportunity to think through really tough and complex issues,&rdquo; she continued.&nbsp;&ldquo;I also like that I get to touch a lot of different areas of law. For example, I&rsquo;ve been worked class actions for consumer protection issues, product liability, employment, civil rights, warranty and Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases. While the framework of the class action is the same, the underlying substantive issues are different and that makes my work a lot more fascinating,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p><b>In 2016, Samantha assisted in securing a denial of class certification in a multi-state putative class action venued in the Northern District of California.</b></p> <p><b>Samantha thrives on the diversity of her work.</b>&nbsp;&ldquo;One week I&rsquo;m doing legal research in the office and then the next I&rsquo;m out of the office doing depositions, hearing or inspections. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very different than my first job when I worked as a claims adjuster after graduating from college. She admitted that law school was always in mind.</p> <img src="" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="337" /> <p><b>When she is not working, Samantha is busy playing and spending time with her two daughters and husband.</b> &ldquo;With two girls under the age of five, we definitely spend a lot of time at Disney and at the pool during the summertime. Even a trip to Publix can be considered a field trip.&rdquo; she laughed.</p> <p><b>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s important to me that I show my daughters that you can be a mom and have a career you enjoy,&rdquo; </b>noted Samantha.&nbsp;&ldquo;I want them to see that they have choices to do whatever they want,&rdquo; she added.&nbsp;&ldquo;It&rsquo;s also good that they know they are not the only important thing in my life. I have a job and sometimes I have to travel. They are very well adjusted and handle that well because they have a great father who is able to be home and doesn&rsquo;t need to work late or on the weekends,&rdquo; she explained. &ldquo;They actually get excited when I&rsquo;m out of town because they&rsquo;ll get to watch television shows during dinner,&rdquo; she laughed.</p> <p>Samantha&rsquo;s husband teaches fifth grade, so in addition to him having a regular schedule, he is also home during the summer. &ldquo;He likes that he&rsquo;s able to do home improvements projects and take care of the house during the week so that the weekends are filled with fun.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src=" Duke BTB_hiking.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="300" height="224" /><b>Before the girls were born, Samantha and her husband liked spending time outdoors hiking</b>. &ldquo;We really enjoy the mountains and visiting places like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. On one hike, we climbed Yosemite Falls and the sign said it was a three mile trail. We figured we&rsquo;d be done in an hour, but it was so steep, it took us six hours to get to the top and back. It was the most exhausted we&rsquo;ve ever been,&rdquo; she remembered. &ldquo;While we won&rsquo;t be doing any trails like that for a long time, I&rsquo;m excited to take the girls with us to spend time exploring the trails in Utah and Yosemite.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog18 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0800 the Classroom to the Courtroom, Fred Clarke Talks about His Journey into Law and His Many Interests Outside the Courtroom<p>Fred Clarke enjoys a diverse general practice that includes a wide variety of commercial litigation from bankruptcy and finance litigation to construction and automotive warranty work where he assists automotive manufacturers in warranty and Lemon Law matters, as well as against alleged product defects.</p> <p>&ldquo;Recently, I&rsquo;ve been working with Scott Williams helping mine workers to protect benefits, healthcare, and pensions and position them for collective bargaining after bankruptcy, which has been both challenging and rewarding,&rdquo; noted Fred.</p> <p><b>Fred has gained trial experience early in his career and has already witnessed the importance of preparation.</b> &ldquo;I like working with different partners because I get exposure to a lot of cases and more opportunities to be in court. The trials I&rsquo;ve worked on have been my favorite experiences so far. It takes a lot of preparation to be confident and ready for trial, but it is well worth it in the end,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>Fred talked about his first trial experience where he was able to handle and prepare the case on his own with only minimal supervision from partner Jimmy Walsh. &ldquo;It was a small matter for a client for whom we typically work on larger issues. It was helpful to work on a case with lower stakes and gain valuable experience and confidence for my next case which had much higher stakes,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Although it was a big commercial fraud construction case, I felt much calmer during my cross examination of their expert witness thanks to the formative skills I learned in my first, smaller case,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;While we won both of those cases, sometimes a case does not go your way and it&rsquo;s just as important to pay attention and identify the missed opportunities. That happened recently in an arbitration case that we knew was a long shot and did not go our way. Focusing on how we could have handled some things differently helps to be even better prepared next time,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p><b>Seeing the impact of his work and helping clients is what Fred enjoys most about being a lawyer and what led him to leave the classroom to pursue law. </b>&ldquo;I really like having measureable feedback, which is especially true in trial. In law, you&rsquo;re always working toward a goal and advancing cases, which I have found more satisfying than when I was teaching composition at the University of Southern Mississippi where my impact was not as obvious or measureable,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p><b>Fred also loves to write, which is what led him to get his master&rsquo;s degree in English after graduating from college with a degree in political science and a minor in French.</b> &ldquo;I wrote a lot of poetry in my master&rsquo;s program and was published in a couple of anthologies. I went to a writer&rsquo;s retreat in the rural part of the Loire Valley in France and spent four weeks writing at a 1,000 year-old abbey,&rdquo; he shared. &ldquo;While teaching after my master&rsquo;s program, I was not writing as much as I wanted, so that was another reason to pursue law. I write much more now than I did then, though I would like to find some time to write more fiction,&rdquo; he admitted.</p> <p><b>Growing up the eldest in a large blended family, it&rsquo;s not surprising that Fred ended up becoming a lawyer.</b> &ldquo;I am the oldest of 11 siblings, including half, step, adopted and foster siblings,&rdquo; he explained. &ldquo;I was always the mediator in the family between different branches and siblings. I also was always the responsible one who everyone came to for advice. I&rsquo;m a natural advisor and problem solver,&rdquo; he continued. &ldquo;My mom remarried when my sister and I were teenagers and we had three step brothers around the same age. I&rsquo;m not really sure how she and my stepdad survived being surrounded by teenagers,&rdquo; he laughed.</p> <p><img src=", Fred-Family 3.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="400" height="300" /><br /> <b><br /> Fred spent many of his summers growing up with his dad and extended family in Missouri.</b> &ldquo;We spent a lot of time in the Ozarks. There are a lot of lakes surrounded by low mountains and foothills so we naturally spent a lot of time fishing and camping,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Branson is about an hour away and there are a lot of fun things to do there&mdash;Silver Dollar City, Whitewater theme park.&nbsp;The town my dad lived in, Marionville, is an old town built around a small downtown with a library, park, soda fountain and a Five and Dime. It was a really good place to spend summers and I still like to get back to visit each summer, though sometimes we don&rsquo;t make it back until fall. I really enjoy hanging out at the lake and just being away from everything. It&rsquo;s very rural and open. You don&rsquo;t always have a cell signal and there really aren&rsquo;t a lot of places like that where you can just relax, spend time with your family and spot bald eagles.&rdquo;</p> <img src=", Fred-Family 2.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="378" /> <p><b>When he&rsquo;s not working, Fred and his wife of 12 years are busy with their two sons</b>. Their oldest is going into second grade and the youngest turns two in August. Fred says he loves raising kids and has a lot of fun with the boys. &ldquo;My oldest likes trying lots of different sports. He&rsquo;s taken taekwondo, soccer, and is swimming, now,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p><b>Fred admits to being a &ldquo;foodie&rdquo; and likes to make complicated recipes on the weekends.</b> &ldquo;My oldest son likes to assist, which is really fun. We like to experiment a lot with different things.&nbsp;A couple of weeks ago, we made bolognese sauce all day from scratch. It takes about 6-8 hours to make. First, there&rsquo;s three different kinds of meat that you cook slowly and add dairy until it&rsquo;s absorbed. There are a lot of steps, so we only make it once in a while. We also have a special chili recipe. We make our own chili powder by drying and toasting chilies and grinding them into paste. I&rsquo;ve helped Scott Williams with the Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook Off for the last 3 years, though we haven&rsquo;t placed since my first year when we were 2<sup>nd</sup> runner up. I really enjoy grilling when the football season cools down, too,&rdquo; Fred shared.</p> <p>His interest in food extends out of the kitchen, also. When traveling, Fred seeks out unique restaurants and said he&rsquo;d like to earn his first sommelier certification. &ldquo;When I was in college, I taught pairing at a couple of restaurants and an introduction to wine. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Napa and I&rsquo;ve just always had an interest in wines.&rdquo;</p> <p>A man of many interests, Fred is right at home in his practice where he is able to work on a wide variety of cases helping clients resolve their issues.&nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog28 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0800