Attorney at Law Magazine Jacksonville Publisher Tom Brady sat down with Jim Farah to discuss his career.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Farah: After 20 years at UPS, I began my second career as a lawyer.That’s partially why I consider myself a business person with a law degree. When I first began pursuing my legal education I was originally looking at it as a complement to my business background and education, a stepping stone in my business career. In the end, however, I embraced the legal degree and now use it to help other businesses. I enjoy working with various companies and business owners to help them manage all aspects of their business and legal issues. I’m faced with different issues on a daily basis. In fact, there are no two days alike in this career.
AALM: How would you describe the culture of your firm?
Farah: With my background in business, I brought some of that insider knowledge into the ground-floor of my law firm. I designed my firm to be more proactive and responsive to clients, so we would fit into their life and business not the other way around.
One of the ways we try to work with our clients is by holding most of our meetings at their business in person. I have a motto I share at my firm – “Go Look!” I find that we often learn more about a business and our client by being on site and discussing the issues in person with the client. It helps us better understand their needs.
The culture of the firm is very personal and direct. In today’s world, everyone often relies on email as their primary method of communication. I prefer the opposite. I like to meet with them, speak to them and then follow up with email. I mostly work with business owners and doctors – both of whom prefer not to leave their office to come sit in an attorney’s office. Many clients also prefer meeting before or after traditional business hours. I understand that and adapted our firm to it.
AALM: Tell us about your decision to become a certified mediator.
Farah: I would like to see more attorneys helping clients get to their desired finish line without litigation. I understand at times litigation may be needed. However, one may argue that too many business disputes which should be resolved between the parties end up in litigation. I understand the importance of the parties resolving the issues; not a judge or jury. Also, having been in business for many years, I understand the negative impacts of having a long-standing dispute remaining unresolved.
AALM: Tell us about one of the flaws you see in the legal community.
Farah: One of the main flaws I have seen starts with legal education. As with medical school, which has no business-related courses, there are not many business-related courses offered in traditional law school programs. Some lawyers may graduate law school with limited knowledge of basic business concepts and principles. I appreciate what FCSL has done by providing business elective courses for students to take, including Basics of Business for Lawyers and Financial Literacy for Lawyers. I have taught both courses as an adjunct professor and have received great feedback from many students after graduation.
I entered law school already prepared with a background in business. Many other law students are not as lucky. I use my business training every day in my firm. Other lawyers could benefit from that knowledge.
AALM: What accomplishment are you most proud of achieving?
Farah: I have a wonderful family. My son is enrolled in medical school and my daughter is currently studying business. I’m also proud of the career I have built. I am proud to be the president of The Farah Law Group. It was all due to achieving my educational goals. Looking ahead, I’m excited to continue publishing more articles and textbooks on business-related topics for lawyers, doctors and other professionals.
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about being an attorney?
Farah:The goal in business is to make money. As I reflect on the many cases we’ve been involved in, I truly enjoy seeing my clients grow their businesses to achieve their financial goals. Knowing that I played a part in that success keeps me motivated to do it again for someone else.