As a part of its Top Lawyers issue Attorney at Law Magazine South Florida sat down with Serena Collins of TBS Law P.A. to discuss her career and plans for the future as a 2019 Rising Star.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Collins: I have been asked this question many times, and my answer is always the same. I cannot remember a time when I wanted to do anything else in life but become an attorney. I am the first attorney in my family. I love to read and to write. I love to strategize and solve problems, and I love to argue.
AALM: Who is your current mentor? What is the best lesson they’ve taught you so far?
Collins: As I am what they call a “baby” attorney, I have plenty of mentors. Of course, my boss, Tammy Saltzman, has had a huge impact on my growth as a lawyer. She has taught me integrity, compassion, and has encouraged me to believe in myself and my work product. Outside of my office, Alan Crane is a mentor I can always lean on. Whether it is a legal question or a personal matter, Alan has always been there for me. I think the most important lesson I have learned from Alan is networking is the key and building your own book of business will get you far in this career. Matt Benzion is also a mentor that I speak to almost daily and luckily have been able to work alongside. Matt has helped me improve in my litigation skills, has taught me how to prepare for trial, and has guided me in the best way to deal with a difficult opposing counsel.
AALM: How is the practice of law different than your expectations in law school?
Collins: While in law school, I would sit and wonder what my legal career would look like after I passed the bar. I saw myself, at least for the first couple years of my legal career, behind a desk, writing motions, doing legal research, and reviewing all the discovery (which is everyone’s least favorite thing to do). Although I definitely do all the above, I have found myself in a practice, and a firm, where I am taking a more hands-on approach, meeting with clients, attending and arguing in hearings, attending mediation as lead counsel, and in a position that can lead to a partnership.
AALM: Of the cases you’ve worked on or witnessed, what has stood out most in your mind? A particularly difficult case?
Collins: There is one difficult case that stands out to me when I think about this question. This case could have and should have been a case that settled quickly and easily, however it turned into a whirlwind of unnecessary litigation, due to the counsels inability to work together and collaborate. The most important thing I learned from this case is how important it is to be respectful of the opposing counsel, how to be respectful in the courtroom, and how to avoid unnecessary litigation.
AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies? Sports?
Collins: Outside of work, I work out at Hard Exercise Works every morning. I am also on the board of South Palm Beach County FAWL, as internet manager. I am also a member of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association, and I am a co-chair of the mentorship committee.