Attorney at Law Magazine Jacksonville Publisher Tom Brady sat down with Kathleen H. Crowley to discuss what drew her to her current firm.
AALM: How is the practice of law different than your expectations in law school?
Crowley: The practice of law is faster and more exciting that I imagined it would be when I was in law school. There, you learn the theoretical application of the law to a closed universe of facts. As a practicing attorney, the universe of facts and law is wide open and ever-evolving. Each day brings the possibility for a case to change or for some new fact to be uncovered.
AALM: What drew you to your current firm? How would you describe the culture there?
Crowley: What drew me to Dawson | Orr was that I’d be able to get into court right away. After law school, I clerked for three years for federal judges, an experience I loved. Nonetheless, I wanted to get to the actual practice of law. Dawson | Orr was growing, and they had a lot of work. I knew I could immediately contribute, and I was excited about the prospect of litigating a case. It was a good choice. The Dawson | Orr lawyers and administrative staff are a hardworking but fun-loving group. I’m proud of the work we do together.
AALM: Of the cases you’ve worked on or witnessed, what has stood out most in your mind? A particularly difficult case? A tactic or demeanor from one of the involved attorneys? The client? etc.
Crowley: The cases I’ve worked on have all been different. That’s my favorite part of the job. I’ve been fortunate to work on a wide variety of cases which afforded me the opportunity to research and learn different aspects of the law. When I think of the cases I worked on in the past few years, I see the what I could have done better and moments I remember with pride. What sticks out the most, though, is the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet, and the assortment of cases I’ve been able to work on.
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?
Crowley: As we’ve seen with e-discovery, growth in technology expands the limits of discoverable information. The possibilities of how to obtain information and how much information is available to us are endless. In many cases, this can lead to an onslaught of discovery and documents which may prove unnecessary and which may distract from the facts at issue. Ultimately, the availability of information is a positive, as it leads us closer to the truth. But we must balance technology’s capabilities with what is best for our client, their case, and the fair administration of justice.
AALM: Working with senior partners what is a trait they have that you would like to carry through to the next generation of lawyers?
Crowley: I’ve had the joy and pleasure of working with Carl Dawson, who practiced law for more than 65 years. Observing Mr. Dawson taught me that kindness is not tantamount to weakness. He treats every person with respect and a genuine smile, and they can’t help but return the favor. His practice is personal; he picks up the phone to call opposing counsel and he meets people in person. The younger generation can only benefit from the reminder that a person exists behind the email address.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
Crowley: Short term, I’d like to first chair a trial.