Lawrence Lazzara, Jr., managing partner at Parker & Lazzara, PLLC, is an accomplished and talented attorney who possesses an unparalleled passion for the practice of law. Having taken seats at both tables in the courtroom, and having worked directly for a trial court judge, Lazzara is uniquely suited to represent his personal injury clients through some of the most traumatic experiences of their lives.
How It All Began Lazzara earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Florida Atlantic University. He was also a seasoned NCAA Division 1 swimmer and ocean rescuer for the Belmar Beach Patrol. As an ocean rescuer, he discovered that he had a passion for assisting others in crisis, as evinced by his impressive record of saving 77 lives. His mentors and family understood this passion, but knew he was destined for a different career path – becoming an attorney.
During his law school matriculation, Lazzara made the dean’s list four times. He also finished in the top 5 percent of his class in criminal law, criminal procedure and trial advocacy and received a scholarship for academic excellence. He graduated in accelerated fashion from New York Law School, having completed his Juris Doctorate in just two and a half years and at the age of 24 years old. Knowing how competitive the legal market was in New York City, he made the decision in his final semester of law school to continue advancing his legal education by applying to Temple Law School’s nationally recognized litigation program – the LL.M. in trial advocacy.
The LL.M. curriculum blended lectures, faculty demonstrations, individual instruction and student performance into a yearlong program designed to develop and hone the skills of the attorney who wished to litigate complex cases. The program emphasized creating the theory of the case, understanding the advocacy process, and carrying the theory into practice. “During the introductions on the first day of class, I discovered that I was in class with award winning Super Lawyers, big law firm partners and a lieutenant colonel in the Armed Forces. I was the youngest student by at least a decade,” said Lazzara.
While working on his LL.M., he also accepted a one-year appointment as a judicial law clerk for the New Jersey State Superior Court. During his one year appointment, he mediated small claims cases, conducted extensive legal research and writing projects, and served as liaison between the judiciary and its litigants. During this already busy period, he also prepared for and passed the New York and New Jersey bar exams.
After completing his judicial clerkship, he applied for a position with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office in New York City. Though there were over 2,500 applicants for only 40 positions with this office, he was selected and became an assistant district attorney. There, he was exposed to a variety of emotionally- charged and violent cases. He gained significant experience working and collaborating with victims and local law enforcement. He also experienced a 24-hour criminal court system and learned an appreciation for the magnitude of the criminal justice system – particularly as he was doing arraignments at 2 o’clock in the morning.
When his family relocated from New York to Arizona, he began his legal career in personal injury with one of the state’s largest marketing injury law firms. There, he discovered the area of law that ideally fit his personality and background, as he embraced the opportunity to help victims during their time of need while also using his ever developing advocacy skills. He and his wife, fellow attorney and veteran litigator, Joy Parker, created Parker & Lazzara, PLLC in 2009. Although Joy has since moved on to practice in a different area of law, Lazzara’s father-in-law, Charles Parker, a former chief counsel in New Jersey for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, remains on board in an of counsel capacity, keeping the firm name in the family.
“Because I was constantly exposed to so many varieties of trauma throughout my rescuer and legal careers, I developed a well of compassion and understanding for those who have been victimized, often through no fault of their own. I am also understanding of the victim’s need to be heard, as they desire to tell their story. They also need to feel the security of knowing that someone is out there protecting them and their individual interests,” said Lazzara. “Allowing my clients the ability to express themselves and share their personal stories has proven to not only help the outcome of the case, but it lays the foundation of a trust relationship between the attorney and the client. I strive to implement this approach on each of my cases.”
Practice Set Apart “Nothing is more important to me than getting the job done, and getting it done well,” he said. Lazzara purposely keeps a manageable caseload so that he may devote his personal attention to his clients and their cases. This creates an environment for positive results and relationship building. He takes great pride in being personally accessible to his clients. He believes that this hands on approach is an integral part of building a trusting attorney client relationship
“Most of our advertising uses the phrase, ‘bringing honesty, integrity and class to the practice of law,’” said Lazzara. “These ideals are at the center of every case we accept, every relationship we build, and every interaction we have.” Lazzara is also known and valued for providing solid, objective analysis about his cases. He walks his clients through their entire process, discussing the good and bad facts unique to each file, and explains how insurance adjusters will view the data and use it during negotiations. He recognizes and addresses his clients’ concerns, but makes sure to manage expectations through client education.
Lazzara has also enjoyed great success in his dealings with the opposition as he works diligently to find the common ground without the experience becoming adversarial. “I have always found that if you treat someone with respect and dignity, then you are creating the environment for reason and logic,” he said. “I respect the fact that my adversaries have a job to do, and I expect them to do it well. I just make sure to do my job better. As a result, I enjoy a very high pre-litigation settlement rate.”
Ongoing Education “The intersection of legal, medical and insurance law is a difficult and delicate area of law to practice,” said Lazzara. “I do my best to keep up-to-date on the latest changes in each field so I that I can represent my clients to the best of my ability, using the most current information available. I also share my knowledge with medical professionals and fellow attorneys so that we can all work together to improve the personal injury law practice as a whole.”
About every six months, Lazzara is invited to be a guest speaker to share his wealth of knowledge with medical professionals and fellow personal injury attorneys. His past topics have included: personal injury law; trends in the field; strategies doctors can implement to improve the relationship between the legal and medical fields; and how to overcome obstacles posed by the defense’s strategies. In addition to his speaking engagements, he is also a frequent contributor to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce’s newsletters as well as occasionally submitting articles for AVVO.
Paper(less) Trailblazer Embracing emerging technology in the workplace to expand communication opportunities and streamline previously time-consuming processes, he ensures his firm remains planted firmly on the cutting edge. “One of the biggest issues in any law practice is the overabundance of work created by having paper files, such as filing, copying, sending large packages through the mail, etc. In my opinion, using a paper file system yields an inefficient use of valuable time and resources,” he explained. “I have been searching for quite some time for software to digitize this process. Having found a fit, I have since converted my entire practice to the digital world. Now, I can apply my old fashioned work ethic with the new legal technology. My overhead has since plummeted and profits have increased. I recommend this approach for any small firm.” Now, he has access to all of his clients’ information at his fingertips at all times.
“I wish I had transitioned to a digital system sooner. I can now create demand packages and produce discovery in a fraction of the time,” noted Lazzara. “Seeing the positive results in my practice has been well worth the effort it has taken to switch to the digital system. Now, I cannot imagine ever going back to a paper file system.”
Giving Back Not only does he dedicate his practice to helping others, but he makes sure to find the time to dedicate to worthy causes as well. He works closely with the Knights of Columbus as an officer and participates in a number of their charity events. He also occasionally participates in the Wills for Heroes Program, where he drafts wills at no charge for Arizona’s police officers and firefighters.
“I think it is a privilege to be able to give back to the community,” said Lazzara. “I enjoy donating time and money for worthy causes in support of the greater good.”