Fortunately for Thompson Burton, the end of 2016 was hectic. Many of our attorneys were working on year-end deals and cases with our clients.
Now that I’ve had a little time to reflect, I wanted to share a few thoughts about the firm and why I’m grateful for where the firm is at this time.
Client trust is the lifeblood of any law firm. Every day, we help our clients make important – and sometimes difficult — decisions that affect their companies’ bottom lines.
Clients have to trust that Thompson Burton attorneys have their interests at heart.
Likewise, they have to trust us with sensitive information so that we can make the best possible recommendations.
Finally, they have to trust that we will provide the right legal advice given the situation and not just what the client wants to hear.
Kevin Thompson recently wrote about service in a previous blog post.
I am always proud of how we are making a difference not just professionally but also personally. We want to be able to do this for our attorneys and in the community.
All good organizations have an identity. Creating the right culture is one of my top priorities.
Thompson Burton’s identity starts with our values. It’s gratifying to see attorneys and staff embrace and apply these values professionally and personally.
We think we have the right cultural mix to foster creativity and productivity.
Four years ago when Kevin and I founded the firm, we didn’t necessarily know that Nashville and Middle Tennessee would boom economically the way it has the last few years.
It’s a great time for Middle Tennessee, and we’re seeing that in the firm’s book of business.
The legal profession is generally conservative. That said, one has to take risks to grow and achieve one’s potential.
I’m grateful when new attorneys take a risk to join our firm, especially those who leave larger, more established firms.
Similarly, I love to see our attorneys and staff embrace new ways of doing business that benefit everyone. We want to be the firm that breaks the mold when it makes sense — whether it’s technology or a business practice — and never settles to be like everyone else.
The legal business can be demanding. It’s not a 9-to-5 business. That’s why they call it a “profession” and not a “job”.
I’m grateful that Thompson Burton decided from the beginning to embrace technology to foster work-life balance so that we serve our clients and while not missing out on important moments with our loved ones.
Kevin and I have believed from the beginning that “passion drives excellence.”
It’s wonderful to be surrounded by people who share our passion for providing the best possible legal advice to clients while building a firm in which we all take pride.
2016 was a banner year for Thompson Burton which brought record revenues and growth for the firm. I’m excited to see what 2017 brings and to come to work every day with such a great team.
From the beginning, Founding Partner Walt Burton and I believed hiring well-rounded people and giving them the freedom to pursue their passions would help build a great firm. It’s vital for work-life balance.
So far, I like our track record.
Kevin Grimes is an outstanding MLM attorney. Outside of work, he has fostered 24 teenage boys over the last 13 years.
At work, Phillip Young Jr. tackles some of the most complex bankruptcy litigation cases. In his personal time, he takes great pride his community involvement and is known to say, “My life outside of work is busier than my life in the office.”
John Hollins Jr. is a published author who wrote Surviving Divorce: A Lawyer’s Common Sense Guide To What You Should Know Before, During, And After A Divorce.
Those are just several examples of Thompson Burton attorneys making an impact.
I put together a list of the many organizations for which Thompson Burton staff volunteer their time. In addition, many lawyers are active in their individual churches.
As a smaller firm, I’m proud of the overall results. What also strikes me is the diversity of organizations and the variety of passions our team pursues. That makes us all better.
HEALTHCARE & MEDICINE
HOUSING & LAND USE
SPORTS & FITNESS
WOMEN & CHILDREN
I had my first inclination when I was in 8th grade. One of my teachers had to fill some time at the end of the semester and decided to hold a mock trial. She assigned me the role of defense attorney, and I earned an A+ for my work. The teacher pulled me aside afterwards and said I should consider being an attorney.
I dismissed it at the time. I had no lawyers in my family and knew nothing about the practice of law. I became curious about the practice of law during college, so I interned for a judge in my hometown of Montgomery, Ala., one summer. I took it on the chin financially because it was a free internship, but I quickly learned that this was a career path I wanted to pursue.
I gravitated toward litigation during law school and my summer internships, earning a moot court award during my second year at Vanderbilt Law School. My first year at Bass Berry & Sims, I was recruited to work on the bankruptcy for Service Merchandise, the largest bankruptcy ever filed in the Middle District of Tennessee. I had never done anything with bankruptcy before that and had never given any thought to becoming a bankruptcy litigator.
It was supposed to be a limited engagement. I worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week for three months straight and earned a good reputation with the bankruptcy group. Three other first-year associates on the same team quit — one left the practice of law altogether.
After three months, they asked me to stay on for another six months and then finally asked me to stay in bankruptcy full time.
That three-month project turned into an eight-year engagement, and I knew bankruptcy was a good fit for me.
There are two things I really enjoy.
The first is problem solving. I pride myself in coming up with out-of-the-box, efficient solutions to complex problems.
In bankruptcy, you are often working with pennies on the dollar, and the cost of litigating over pennies is unjustified. The best and most financially responsible resolutions are often ones that avoid costly trial unless absolutely necessary. It doesn’t work in every case, but I have a good track record when everyone is “economically rational.”
The second part I enjoy is becoming an expert on multiple industries. You get a crash course in the industry, whether its retail and real estate with Service Merchandise, lawnmowers with Murray or movie theaters with Regal Cinemas.
Good client relationships occur when I understand their business or can learn it quickly, when I understand exactly what the client is trying to accomplish and when they trust that I am giving them advice to best accomplish their goals.
I was with a small, boutique firm and was referring out so much work to full-service firms that it became a disadvantage.
When I started looking around, I knew that I wanted a firm where lawyers were recognized as the top in their field. I had a receivership case where I needed commercial real estate expertise. I hired Walt Burton to manage that part of case and quickly saw that we practiced law the same way, had a lot of the same principles and were committed to excellent service.
As we were nearing the end of the case, Walt asked me to join the firm.
I started my career in a large law firm where I put my work before family. When I left that firm, I made a promise to myself that family was going to come first. Thompson Burton makes work-life balance a priority. When my colleagues at other firms see that I am doing top-tier legal work in an environment that makes me so happy, they often ask “Is Thompson Burton hiring?”
Honestly, my life outside of work is busier than my life in the office.
Our family is very involved with Columbia Academy where my boys are in school. My wife teaches 6th grade, and I serve on the board of directors. I’m very involved with my children’s activities, including band, athletics and robotics.
In addition to my involvement at Columbia Academy, I teach two Bible study groups at my church and serve as a deacon over our college ministry.
My father and I are long-time season ticket holders for University of Alabama football, and my oldest son and I are season ticket holders for the Tennessee Titans.