Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Adam Edgecombe of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP to discuss his legal career.
AALM: Tell us a little about your philosophy when it comes to your practice. Do you have a personal motto?
AE: My philosophy is that this job is hard enough on attorneys as it is, between the long hours, high-stakes, and demanding clients. So, we should all strive to deal with one another in a way that doesn’t add stress. Also, I try not to take myself too seriously; no one should think he or she is better than another person just because they have “Esq.” after their name.
AALM: Tell us about one of the most important lessons you learned from a personal or professional mentor.
AE: As an English major, I tend to use “thousand dollar words” and get a little flowery with my turns of phrase in my writing. A former boss helped me refine and improve my writing style by always reminding me that less is more, and that short, direct statements are more effective than lengthy sentences, though I admittedly still struggle with this sometimes. This same boss also taught me how important organization is, whether that is the organization of your file, your email, or your office.
AALM: What is the most important lesson your parents (or parental figures) taught you?
AE: My dad taught me that there’s three kinds of people in life: those who can count and those who can’t.
AALM: How is your practice today different from how you envisioned it in law school?
AE: In law school, I did not appreciate the importance of seemingly minor things like calendar and email management, general time, management, and organization. I have come to appreciate that these three things especially can make a huge difference in your success and effectiveness as an attorney.
AALM: What drew you to your current firm?
AE: I was presented with a unique opportunity to join a long-standing and well-respected firm with a great local client base that is growing. I also work with one of my good friends from the Young Lawyers Section. The Lippes leadership, locally and out of our home office in Buffalo, New York, really impressed me. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a no-brainer to join them.
AALM: How would you describe the culture of your firm?
AE: The Lippes culture is very energetic and one where we work hard but have plenty of laughs as well. The office is about as low-stress as you can get in the practice of law. We are very collegial and collaborative.
AALM: Tell us about a single case that has significantly impacted you personally or professionally?
AE: After almost 10 years of practice, I finally had a case go all the way to trial (arbitration, really) — the arbitration literally ended the day before my 10-year anniversary of practicing law. Finally getting that experience was revelatory for me and I learned so much from it. Plus, it was against a major American corporation and it was pretty thrilling to go up against them. Shout out to my friend and former colleague, Austin Hamilton, who tried the case with me and imparted so much knowledge to me.
AALM: As technology changes the practice of law, how are you adapting? Do you believe these changes are good or detrimental?
AE: While technology makes certain aspects of practice more efficient and easier, I think it also has the unintended consequence of increasing lawyer stress, especially text messages and email and even more so for email on our cell phones. It sounds so cliched, but the inability to unplug and step away can take a serious toll on lawyers’ mental health. I am thankful for the increased productivity, but I cannot say that the trade-off in mental health is worth it.
AALM: What are some of the challenges you see negatively impacting the judicial system?
AE: As everything in life is becoming more politicized, I worry about that spreading to the trial court judges and their approach to cases, as well as the public’s perception of our judges. As to the latter issue, one need look no further than the recent murder of federal judge Esther Salas’ son and the shooting of her husband.
AALM: Tell us about a case that changed your perspective on the practice of law.
AE: A case I was recently involved in drastically changed my perspective on the practice of law. Without disclosing details on the case, I will say that it taught me that, just because your client might be legally right, it certainly doesn’t make him or her ethically or morally right, and that we as attorneys should not lose sight of that and should know and appreciate the distinction.
AALM: Tell us about your ambitions for your career. Do you plan to stay with your firm? Certain goals in mind? Are you looking to jump to the corporate track or move to the bench?
AE: I would sincerely love nothing more than to finish my career with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman. During this time, I hope to help build our Jacksonville office alongside the great group of attorneys I am working with.
AALM: What are you most proud of professionally and personally?
AE: Professionally, I am most proud of my involvement with the Jacksonville Bar Association, especially as a board member of the Young Lawyers Section. Joining and then working my way up to a leadership position with the YLS was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally. Personally, I am very proud of my wife, Laura Edgecombe, and son, Holden Edgecombe. Laura is one of the most driven and hardworking people I know, and I never get tired of being introduced to someone as “Laura’s husband” as I often am. Holden is a way better kid than I was at his age, in all facets of life. I am immensely proud of them both.
AALM: Tell us about your community involvement.
AE: I am on the board of the Jacksonville Chamber’s Downtown Council and the alumni board for The Bolles School. I am also involved with the JBA’s Judicial Relations Committee. As an almost-lifelong resident of Jacksonville, community involvement and volunteer work are very important to me.
AALM: If you had the opportunity to start your career over again, what would you change and why?
AE: I would explore transactional work. I enjoy litigation and have no intention of getting out out of it now, but, from what I have seen and experienced, it seems a lot more stressful than some transactional practice areas.
AALM: How is COVID-19 affecting your legal practice?
AE: So far, I am tremendously lucky and thankful that it has not had much of an impact on my practice, other than working from home for a time, wearing masks in the office, and not having to fight traffic. But, I dearly miss after-work professional events and seeing my attorney friends, especially my friends from the YLS board. The lack of in-person interaction has been really hard.
AALM: Tell us about your life outside the law.
AE: These days there is not much life outside the office, unfortunately, due to the pandemic. One bright spot has been the weekly, guys-only recreational bike ride I do with my friends in my Miramar neighborhood. Anywhere from 4 to 8 of us grab a drink and have a leisurely evening ride for about an hour. That is usually the highlight of my week and it has become a treasured routine for all of us.
AALM: At the end of the day, what makes you happiest professionally and personally?
AE: Professionally, I am most happy when I am favorably resolving a case for a client who has been wronged in some way, and when I am working collaboratively with the attorneys in my firm who have different practice areas. Personally, spending time at the beach or by the pool with my family and friends, or with a good book in hand, is where I would always most love to be.