“I love the practice of law because it gives you an opportunity to be a difference maker,” says Stuart Grossman. That attitude along with his commitment in the courtroom, the office and his community has made Grossman a legend in the legal community. Legend is a description he takes seriously, but always with a dose of reality.
“I don’t think of myself as a legend. I have to take out the trash and do a million things. My wife has a big to-do list for me. I consider myself a part-time fisherman and a guy who loves my dog and my family. I don’t have a crown or anything. The best part of it, without question, is being put into a group that I consider to be legendary.”
His desire to become a difference maker was fueled in law school when he was inspired by guest lecturer J.B. Spence. “I knew that I wanted to be a trial lawyer that had the ability to argue for the individual against companies and corporations.”
Grossman’s “difference maker” philosophy brings enormous rewards he says. “I enjoy the ability to change the lives of individuals I’ve been privileged to represent. There’s no question of that. Not many people have that opportunity in their lines of work. You can make automobiles or jewelry or sell things, but the ability to take a terrible situation and have an opportunity to turn it around so people can make a recovery and make the best possible lives they can brings enormous personal rewards.”
Those rewards come at a price. The people who have done well in the practice of law – which he defines as making a difference and protecting a client’s rights – have an innate passion for the law. “The price you pay is that the law is not just a jealous mistress; it is an all-encompassing life and lifestyle. You have to understand that you have to build a life around this career if you intend on getting the rewards it has to offer, which are considerable. There’s no such thing as just dipping your toe in the water and working just nine to five or on occasion,” he says.
Grossman’s advice for law school graduates who want to become trial lawyers is pragmatic. Because of the diminished number of trials today, he recommends joining a governmental agency, preferable a very active U.S. attorney’s office or a very active state attorney’s office or public defender’s office to get the necessary trial experience. “I used to say join a large firm that will give you assignments, but the reality is that the number of trials is down because of the amount of mandatory mediation and arbitration. I have real concern about the future of the trial and the trial lawyer in America.”
And for those who desire to attain legendary status he repeats the advice he received from his chief petty officer when leaving boot camp, “Grossman, keep your nose clean.”
Grossman says, “It’s reputation. It’s everything you do. It’s the way you are in a restaurant, the way you are in a clothing store, the barber shop, or a sporting event. You have to remember who you are and what you’re about. And that is all about being a difference maker.”