Raising the Bar
How has your practice evolved from when you started out?
How hasn’t it!? When I left law school, pot was widely illegal and now I deal with marijuana (professionally) every week. So there’s that. I’ve also reached a sweet spot where most of my time is spent dealing with public policy issues ranging from very public disputes over the role of hydropower in Maine to unconstitutional marijuana laws around the country. It’s an exciting way to be a lawyer, is political to the right degree, and lets me wrestle with some fairly novel (and, depending who you ask, boring) legal issues, which I dig!
What skills, talents, or methods do you think help you excel in this field?
Being practical, admitting what I don’t know, leaning on people who do know, and trying to be friendly with everyone. Many of the problems I’ve solved for clients come from my close relationships with people in state government, relationships that I’ve worked hard to build and keep.
Where are you most active or visible within your practice area? Is there a specific niche you’re known for?
In academic parlance: administrative law. For real people: suing the government, working with the government, or both.
How would your clients describe you?
To the point.
What do you like best about your practice area?
The intersection of law and politics is a comfortable place to hang out. Dealing with public policy issues and disagreements with the state requires creativity and depends equally on relationships and legal argument. Sometimes you can work it out, sometimes you just need to sue somebody, and most of the time there’s a middle ground. Finding that happy medium is fun.
How do you start your day?
Usually I put a pillow over my head and hide, hoping my young boys don’t notice me so I can sleep for 5 more minutes. More often than not this backfires because they jump on me, pointy kid limbs and all, until I give up and get up. Then I drink coffee, then more coffee. After the struggle known as trying to dress my 3 year old, I take them to school and am usually forced to listen to a podcast of short nonsensical children’s stories on the way. In all truth, it’s a delightful way to start the day.
When you’re able to sneak in a break during the day, where could you be found?
Mountain biking in the summer, often training for one ultra-race or another, or ice climbing in the winter.
When it comes to reviewing your own peers, what criteria are important? What makes an attorney stand out?
Humility, self-reflection and a lack of pretense all help. Really the same traits that make for a solid person in general make for a kind, and usually good, lawyer.