, Salem, MA


January 30, 2013

Trial lawyer has 'great fun' in the courtroom


What attracted you to the law?

It’s hard to say. In the extended family, one of my father’s cousins was actually a very successful criminal defense attorney down in Texas and Oklahoma. ... His wife was a law professor and also did some practicing. I knew that they were lawyers. I wasn’t close to them, but I knew them. It was just one of those things. We had some friends of the family who were lawyers. ... I did think I wanted to try cases, I had that kind of specific interest, and it’s worked out fine for me. It wasn’t terribly complicated.

What lessons can you draw from your career?

When I came into the profession of law, it was still very much a profession in terms of lawyers were very courteous to one another. ... There was a very nice tradition of mentoring. And I was very lucky. I started working with some very good lawyers, the Ardiff brothers and Malcolm McLean, who is still practicing with me, and with George Morse. And they were all terrific people to work with, and they were very helpful to me. ... I started going to court early on. When I was in law school, I participated in the young defenders program, which was tied in some fashion to the Roxbury defenders program and the Roxbury District Court, and I actually tried a lot of cases there as a third-year law student. ... I liked it; very different from what I do now, but it was very good experience.

Are you practicing business or criminal law?

It’s occasional criminal cases, but most of my practice is business litigation.

You like being in the courtroom?

Very much so, it’s great fun.

You are visible. There is pressure. There are aspects of it that are much like athletics. There’s a score; you can win or lose according to the judgment of the court or the judgment of the jury. There is an element of performance, much like theater. ... People who go to court are a collegial group.

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