I am an advocate.
I love people. I love to solve problems efficiently and logically. And I love to argue a client’s position. Yes, I freely admit I love to argue. But I argue with passion and conviction.
I love my hometown. I grew up in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, near the intersection of 75th and Troost. My parents still live in the home where I was raised. My Mom is a brilliant, fiercely independent woman who showed us the importance of valuing all people and standing up for racial and gender equality. My Dad is a retired sole-practitioner who maintained his law office across the street from our home. He spent his entire career solving actual legal problems suffered by individuals and trying the lawsuits that needed to be tried. He always took on the cause of the person forgotten by society and fought admirably for more than 30 years. My Dad is an unassuming man who was always out-gunned (and often underestimated) in the courtroom. My Mom was his administrative assistant. And we, his three sons, helped him try his cases by sitting at the table where the lawyers sat and by serving as his de facto trial paralegals. Advocacy is in my genetic makeup. And I was nurtured by trial practice.
My parents saved enough to send me to Rockhurst High School. I am forever grateful for my Jesuit education. I am also a proud graduate of the University of Missouri. I met my wonderful wife Tina (who is also brilliant and fiercely independent) in Columbia and she and I have been married for twenty years. We have three children and we are truly blessed. I am passionate about my family. I am passionate about Rockhurst. I am passionate about Mizzou.
I love the practice of law. I honed my skills for two decades in two outstanding, Kansas City-based large law firms. I cherish my experiences from both firms. I formed lasting friendships while watching and learning from some of the best legal minds in the region. Both law firms embraced me as their partner and allowed me the freedom to speak my mind. Despite my fond memories of both places, after 20 years in “Big Law” it is finally time for me to take a chance on an entirely new type of practice.
I do not love the billable hour. I can no longer live my life in increments of 0.1 and 0.2 hours. I will go mad. The billable hour is tradition. But it is not a good tradition. It subconsciously incentivizes inefficiency. It also drives a small wedge between the interests of the attorney and the interest of the client. I am dedicated to the demise of the billable hour. Now is the time for the world to embrace a flexible billing strategy, one focused entirely on aligning the interests of the attorney and the client from the very start of the relationship.
I love trial (but only when necessary). I know the law. I memorize the facts. I love an audience. I love to be on my feet. And I love to work my soap-box. But I also know that trials are not about the lawyer. I understand the importance of winning and the impact of losing. I have been lucky enough to win jury trials and arbitration awards for clients. I have witnessed a client who could not hold back the tears when the jury affirmed his decision to stand up for himself after a lifetime of being discounted by his peers. And I have witnessed the tears of someone whose freedom had been taken away.
I know what we do affects real people with real problems. And I believe in the critical role our profession plays in maintaining a civil democracy.
Please let me be your advocate.