John C. Norling: The True Measure of Success

John Norling
2024 Feature Nominations

Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Managing Attorney of Jennings Strouss, John C. Norling who was recently recognized in Phoenix Business Journal’s 2020 Most Admired Leaders. Committed to the law and to the firm, Norling also serves on their management committee. His practice is focused on advising clients on all aspects of their operations, including but not limited to, commercial transactions, real estate, business organizations, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, federal and administrative compliance, business contract negotiations, and advertising law.

AALM: What drew you to a career in law?

JCN: My father practiced law in Phoenix and was a tremendous influence on me. While he never pushed me to go into the law, seeing the way he assisted his clients, the way he was able to help them through difficult times and the appreciation his clients showed was very impactful to me. I was drawn to law as I saw it as an ever-challenging profession that provided the opportunity to help people and work with some of the finest individuals around. Even considering the turmoil we find ourselves in these days, this is still the greatest country in the world and the legal system is one of the foundational bedrocks of the country. It is an honor to be a part of it.

AALM: Can you describe your role as managing attorney of Jennings Strouss?

JCN: Firm leadership is a service role. As the managing attorney of Jennings Strouss, my role is fairly simple. With the assistance of a very talented group of people, I oversee the business operations and strategic direction of the firm and try to put our lawyers in the best possible position to succeed by removing as many obstacles as I can to enabling them to focus on practicing law and serving our clients. It is a significant challenge at times as I also maintain a full practice, but I have a great support system here which makes it possible.

AALM: What is your greatest satisfaction in this pursuit?

JCN: I think my greatest satisfaction or enjoyment arises out of helping people achieve their objectives and goals or helping them through a difficult period while working alongside some incredibly talented people, whether as my co-workers at Jennings Strouss or some of the tremendous opposing counsel I have had the opportunity to work with.

AALM: What are some of the most significant changes you’ve witnessed during the time you’ve been practicing law?

JCN: One of the biggest changes I have noticed has been technology. The speed at which the practice moves today is both a blessing and a curse. It enables us to accomplish significantly more in a much shorter period of time, but it also makes it much more difficult to get away from the practice to recharge. Related to technology, I also believe the internet and the availability of information have been a game changer.

AALM: Tell us about one of the most important lessons you learned from a personal or professional mentor.

JCN: I have been very blessed to work with a number of very talented lawyers from whom I learned a great deal. From my father who taught me that the legal profession is a service profession in which you must put the needs of the client first, to a few of my former partners with whom I spent many of my formative years of the practice of law, Russ Kolsrud, Mark Sifferman, and Darrell Davis, from whom I learned so many of the intangible qualities of being a good lawyer and, specifically, how to manage clients. I think one of the biggest lessons I learned is that there are many, many talented and skilled lawyers in firms across the country who can do exceptionally good work. The true measure of success for a practicing lawyer is to transition from a skilled service provider to a client’s trusted advisor.

AALM: What is the most important lesson your parents taught you?

JCN: To treat everybody with respect and to remember that it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a second to destroy it.

Susan Cushing

Susan Cushing is the associate editor of Attorney at Law Magazine as well as a staff writer. She has been contributing to the magazine for more than eight years.

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