Attorney at Law Magazine Miami Publisher Rhenne Leon sat down with Jared Lopez to discuss his career as an attorney.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Lopez: I knew I wanted to become a lawyer during my second year in college. I was first drawn to the profession by actor Raul Julia’s portrayal of defense attorney Sandy Stern in the film “Presumed Innocent,” based on the Scott Turow novel.
AALM: Who is your current mentor? What is the best lesson they’ve taught you so far?
Lopez: My current mentor is our firm’s senior partner Roy Black. The best lesson he has taught me is the value of thorough preparation. No level of raw talent can be a substitute for thorough preparation. Roy is always the most prepared lawyer on any case. Old-fashioned preparation will never be replaced. Always return to the fundamentals.
AALM: Who are some of your legal heroes? Why?
Lopez: Roy Black, Ted Wells, Robert Bennett. First, I have had the privilege of working directly with all three on cases. They are all premier lawyers who have demonstrated equal skill in handling both criminal and civil cases for the most sophisticated clients.
AALM: How is the practice of law different than your expectations in law school?
Lopez: Finding the right balance between working on the substantive aspects of your cases and running the administrative aspects of one’s practice is the biggest difference for me. Legal education places little to no emphasis on law firm practice management, and I strongly believe that needs to change.
AALM: What drew you to your current firm? How would you describe the culture there? How would you describe your role within the firm?
Lopez: I was drawn to my firm by Roy Black’s reputation and by witnessing my partner Howard Srebnick’s courtroom performances while I was an assistant U.S. attorney. Our firm culture is one of a team environment. We are a small firm and accept a limited number of cases per year. We work on them in a team approach, similar to a litigation practice group in a large law firm. I direct the firm’s civil practice.
AALM: Where do you see your career going?
Lopez: I plan to continue to develop our civil practice to grow in both size and reputation. In recent years, we have been successfully growing our civil practice on a national scale and plan to continue this trend.
AALM: Of the cases you’ve worked on or witnessed, what has stood out most in your mind?
Lopez: I have had the privilege of working on many interesting cases. What sticks out in my mind is how terribly laborious each case is to handle successfully. That is, litigation is hard, manual labor at its core. To know one’s case, one must roll up one’s sleeves to do the work. As far as tactics go, I find the best civil litigators are dogged at pushing their cases forward. In many ways, litigation is a game of attrition.
AALM: With technology and an ever-global world, how do you see the legal profession evolving over your career? Do you believe this will be positive or negative?
Lopez: I believe the advent of social media and its universal presence in our culture is the biggest change in recent years. Whether it is marketing for lawyers, or finding information about witnesses or prospective jurors, all of our personal information is public and accessible for all to see today. Facebook and Twitter’s reported involvement in our national elections are clear evidence of this. Positive or negative, social media is here to stay, and we must evolve as professionals to adapt.
AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Lopez: I enjoy boating, watersports, skiing, exercise and spending time with my family.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
Lopez: I hope to continue growing our civil practice and successfully raise happy and healthy children.