In the latest litigator spotlight, Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Spohrer Dodd’s Galen Bauer. He focuses his practice on medical negligence, aircraft accidents, and unsafe products and premises. He is a board certified aviation lawyer and recently served as chairman of the Florida Bar’s Aviation Law Certification Committee.
AALM: Tell us a bit about your firm Spohrer Dodd.
GB: We are a boutique firm that represents victims of medical malpractice, aviation mishaps, and all other sorts of carelessness. We rely on personal relationships with other lawyers who refer clients to us. And, we are truly grateful for the trust those lawyers place in us. A lawyer stakes their professional reputation on us when they refer their client to us. We understand that and take it very seriously. We know that we’ve been successful when our referring lawyers and our clients are satisfied with the work we’ve done. We never guarantee a result but we always guarantee our absolute best effort.
AALM: What compelled you to seek board certification?
GB: We’re all familiar with the old saying that a jack of all trades is a master of none. That’s especially true in the practice of law. Board certified lawyers have committed themselves to mastering a specific practice area. I wanted to master the area of aviation law, so I worked hard to become a board certified aviation attorney.
Board certification in aviation grants access to a special club of sorts. Board certified aviation lawyers know each other, share knowledge and experience with each other, refer clients to one another, and sometimes just share a good drink and a story about aviation. It’s a great professional network to have. The collective knowledge and experience of the group is incredibly valuable.
AALM: Who are some of your mentors and what lessons have they taught you?
GB: Bob Spohrer has been a valued mentor to me for many years. He models excellence and demands it from anyone who works with him. He doesn’t preach about hard work. He shows it instead. He encourages anyone who works for him to always do the right thing. No matter how busy, he makes time to explain to young lawyers why he did something a certain way. And, even with all his experience, he doesn’t assume he has all the answers. He’s always willing to listen to new and different ideas. I hope to be all those things. A great mentor is a great blessing. I’ve been blessed.
AALM: What aspirations do you have for the future of your career?
GB: I aspire to become a trial court judge. I applied for a circuit court judgeship a couple years ago and was honored that the JNC nominated me as a finalist. I hope to get the opportunity to serve as a judge within the next 5-10 years.
I’d also like to teach in a law school. I was a high school teacher before going to law school and enjoyed that work. I taught as an adjunct professor in a law school for six or seven years. I still find that I enjoy teaching. It’s liberating to learn and talk about law when the pressures of an advocate role are removed and any answer is equally acceptable.
AALM: As a high school teacher, what compelled you to go to law school and pursue a legal career?
GB: My high school social studies teacher was a disbarred lawyer. (I didn’t understand the gravity of disbarment enough at that time to ask questions!) He got me interested in law and government. I maintained that interest throughout college but decided to study sciences instead. My dad, who was a teacher, suggested that I could be a high school science teacher and I listened. I started teaching high school chemistry after college but still had a constant, nagging curiosity about law. I decided to sign up for the LSAT on a whim, just to see if I might be smart enough for law school. I did well and the rest is history. Teaching is still in my blood though. I just love learning and sharing what I learn with others.
AALM: Tell us about your involvement in the community.
GB: I currently serve on the board of directors for First Coast Rowing Club. It’s a club focused on character development of teens through the sport of rowing. Rowing is an especially collegial sport. Rowers have to learn to work well together or they have no chance at success. Like with many other athletes, young rowers learn the values of hard work, discipline, dedication, and teamwork. I’m proud to serve an organization that promotes those values.
In addition to serving as a director, I also spend a lot of time volunteering at First Coast Rowing Club. Any given Saturday, I might be found there sanding and painting oars, pushing a lawnmower, or repairing a boat engine. My kids row there so volunteering at their club gives me a chance to spend more time with them and their teammates.
These are really good kids. I never fear that we’re all in trouble because the next generation will be in charge someday. Not at all. There’s plenty of good, smart, conscientious young people around us. Being around them makes me believe that our future, and theirs, is bright.