Attorney at Law Magazine First Coast publisher Thomas Brady sat down with Bethany Ray Reichard of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP to discuss her career in the latest Litigator Spotlight interview.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
BRR: When I was in high school, I worked in the afternoons and summers at my father’s law firm as a runner, helping with copying and filing updates to publications in the library.
I enjoyed writing and majored in English in college and law seemed a natural fit for my interests in writing.
AALM: Who is your current mentor? What is the best lesson they’ve taught you so far?
BRR: My father is my mentor. I have had the pleasure of practicing law with him for the past 15 years and we have never disagreed over work. He is not only hardworking and smart, but he is a man of his word. I recall early in my career attending a hearing with him and the judge said to the opposing counsel, “If Tom Ray said he did it, then he did.” I remember thinking what an impeccable reputation he must-have for a judge to say that. I strive to emulate his professionalism in my career.
AALM: Working with senior partners, what is a trait they have that you would like to carry through to the next generation of lawyers?
BRR: Civility. I always have admired the civility and professionalism the senior attorneys have had throughout their practice. I try to treat opposing parties and counsel with respect and civility. I treat them the way I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes.
AALM: What trait do you believe most separates an average or good litigator from an exceptional one?
BRR: In my opinion, an exceptional litigator is the one who is the most prepared. It is the lawyer doing the nitty gritty work of the case along the way and paying attention to the details. If you procrastinate, you will miss important information rushing to finish your task. If you stay self-disciplined, and prepare for trial along the way, you will be prepared. It is like playing sports – do the hard work during practices and the games are fun.
AALM: Personally, what are you most proud to have accomplished thus far? And, professionally?
BRR: I am proud that I have been able to practice law for over 20 years now and raise four children at the same time. My husband Sean and I are both very involved with our children’s lives. I have been able to volunteer at school on the school advisory board, booster club chair and assistant basketball coach for the girls’ basketball team. I have been a homeroom mom and take pride in attending all the games and significant school events. I would not have been able to do that without my firm being flexible and working with me, and for that, I am very grateful.