Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

happy-birthday-1423422This blog officially started on November 18, 2014 so – Happy 1st Anniversary Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Law Blog!

I truly hope this blog has helped you stay informed on legal issues impacting your company and practice. If there are any topics you’d like to read about in the coming year, please let me know. I’m always looking for suggestions.

To celebrate this exciting event I decided to do something a little different – an interview. But this will not be just any old interview. I am going to interview myself!

 

What type of law did you practice before specializing in retail, restaurant and premises law?

While I was in law school I clerked at a law firm that handled commercial litigation and also worked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office prosecuting in the domestic violence division. That was an amazing experience. Before that job I had no intention of working in litigation. It was the summer before my third year in law school and I handled bench trials on my own – and loved it.

My first 5 years in practice were also very interesting. I represented doctors and nurses who worked in jails and prisons. I have visited almost every prison in the state and met many an interesting fellow. Once you’ve deposed murderers and rapists, deposing your average personal injury plaintiff is a breeze.

Out of all the cases you’ve worked on, which one was your favorite?

I have a deep seeded love for any case involving the criminal element so I would have to say my favorite case to date was a double gang shooting that took place in the parking lot of a shopping center. I was involved with the case within weeks of the shooting and it went on for 9 years. It was really interesting learning about Chicago gangs and deposing the homicide detectives. I will note that one of the things that allowed the case to be so enjoyable was the fact that the plaintiffs’ attorney was a great guy who I would now consider a friend. Having a good relationship with opposing counsel can make or break a case.

What is the scariest situation you were ever in during a deposition?

I was in a closed room in Stateville Correctional Center. If you don’t know the place, it’s a maximum security prison in Illinois and has housed such people as Richard Speck and John Wayne Gacy. It was the deposition of the plaintiff and he had a court appointed attorney. The only people in the room were myself, the female court reporter and the inmate’s female attorney. The inmate was not handcuffed or shackled because the room was within the prison. There was one guard outside but he was walking up and down the hall. Oh yeah, the plaintiff was in for murder and he was quite large. I had only been practicing a couple years and the plaintiff became angry with my questions. We all looked at each other, realizing this was an interesting and potentially dangerous situation. That is when I learned the phrase “never let them see you sweat” is great advice.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve had happen at a deposition?

I was questioning a plaintiff who tripped on a curb and fell. Her attorney had been acting a little weird when all of a sudden she started yelling at me to “shut up.” We all just looked at her, shocked. She would not calm down so we had to end the deposition. I had a first year attorney in the deposition with me for training purposes, and boy was that a learning experience.

When did you decide to become a lawyer?

This is a little embarrassing. I took my last few college courses in Mexico and spent a lot of time with an international lawyer. I then graduated undergrad with a double major in international business and marketing but did not know what I really wanted to do. Not long after returning home from Mexico, I saw the movie “A Few Good Men” and I was hooked. It is so cliché, but after seeing that movie I decided to take the L-SAT and go to law school.

Fun fact not many people know

I have driven a real Nascar, twice. I LOVE to drive fast (I’m not a Nascar fan). The first time was at Disney World and the second was at the Chicago Speedway, because it has longer straight-aways and I wanted to go faster. I recommend it to anyone who likes driving. I also did a ride along in a Formula One car, which was also pretty great because we went about 150 mph.

For my next racing adventure I’d like to go to a track where you can drive regular cars, like a Porsche or BMW. (I hope Santa is reading this!!)

Who is your favorite client?

I love all my clients the same. (Just kidding, you know who you are!)

Thanks to everyone who has read this blog over the last year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I hope you keep coming back. Also, there’s a prize for whoever submits the first (real) comment to one of my blogs.

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