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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 26, 201806:30 AM EST

After 38 years, Lanny Russell is trying to slow down

He says that remains “a work in progress.”
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Lanny Russell said last week he wasn’t intending to start any rumors. He was just looking for a way to take it a little easier.

After practicing law at Smith Hulsey & Busey for 38 years, he moved about four months ago to Tanner & Bishop.

“I feel like Mark Twain. The rumors of my retirement are greatly exaggerated,” said Russell, 63.

“I just want to slow down and do some things I want to do.”

After graduating from law school at the University of Florida, he was admitted to the Bar in 1980 and went to work at Smith Hulsey, where he’d been a clerk for two years during law school. 

It became Smith Hulsey & Busey in 1991.

“My 38 years at Smith Hulsey & Busey were very good years. I worked with some of the best people and best lawyers in the country and made strong relationships,” Russell said.

Russell started his plan to slow the pace of his practice in January 2017, when he decided to take a leave of absence to adjust his speed, but that didn’t work.

“In April, I went back – of counsel – but by June I was back to nearly full time. I tried to slow down in place, but I was too close to my surroundings,” he said.

“I decided that if I was going to try to practice part time, I needed a new place to work, so I went to a smaller firm.”

Russell said he considers Tanner Bishop one of the best small litigation firms in the state and working there has given him the opportunity to continue litigating complex cases.

“I’m calling it a transition period. I’ve been there four months and I’m still working on controlling my hours,” he said.

The goal is to spend less time practicing law and have more time to pursue community service.

Community volunteerism has been on Russell’s agenda since the beginning of his career.

He’s a former member and chair of the Jacksonville Public Library board of trustees, former University of North Florida trustee and currently, vice president of Hubbard House Foundation, Inc.

He’d also like to spend some time with his sons, who live in Colorado.

Russell said his self-imposed program to slow down professionally remains “a work in progress.” If he can’t force himself to take it a little easier, he has another plan.

“I’m going to get a cabin in North Georgia and just live off the grid,” he said.

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