How does a kid from a small town in the Hudson Valley, who was raised by a single mother, grow-up to help lead a national law firm that services the most elite brands in the hospitality industry? I’m still trying to figure that one out. But here I am.
My great-grandfather practiced law in Oklahoma, nearly 100 years ago. He owned a small firm. The world has certainly changed since his time. But despite all the technological advances and new laws, certain aspects of the practice of law today would be quite familiar to him. For example, this is still a profession built on individual relationships. An attorney is, after all, a counselor. The profession still rewards honesty, preparation and attention to detail. And, whether the dialogue occurs in a courtroom, boardroom or hotel kitchen, each voice matters.
After working my way through undergrad and law school by serving and bartending, I spent many years as an associate attorney at a very large international law firm. I honed my skills by learning from other talented lawyers and gained a heap of experience. I eventually decided, much like my great-grandfather, that I wanted to own a small firm. So I founded my own practice, dedicated to serving the hospitality and entertainment industries. I knew that by starting my own firm, the practice of law would demand I focus on those timeless aspects mentioned above. And, if my practice were to thrive, I knew I’d need to be more responsive, creative and effective than my competition.
My fluency in common sense and “preventive law” approach undoubtedly contributed to my quick success. Within a few years, my firm expanded to include several lawyers, and my reputation earned me media attention and the privilege of representing many of Atlanta’s top nightclubs, entertainers and food-service agents. I’m pleased to say that most of my clients give me hugs, not handshakes.
Having caught Stokes Wagner’s attention with the success of my own firm, I was presented with the opportunity to merge my practice. I am proud to build upon the firm’s national hospitality law platform, embrace its well-known “white glove” approach to client service, and expand the firm’s impressive client roster, all while trying multiple jury trials on both sides of the U.S. (I am the lawyer for all time zones!). I also lecture nationally and internationally on entertainment litigation and hospitality law. And when I’m not “distracted” by all that work, I am an avid aviator and amateur beekeeper.