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Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 18, 201903:00 AM EST

In the Law: Amanda Thomas is an attorney at Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow

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Through my service, I’ve connected with several people I likely never would have had the opportunity to meet.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? At an early age, I was interested in being a veterinarian or a lawyer. After taking anatomy in college, I decided that I would pursue

law because I did not enjoy dissecting things.

Someone other than my spouse who inspires me: Other than my sweet, hard-working and funny husband, I would have to say my son. In his 2½ years, he’s taught me more about unconditional love, perseverance and resilience than I could have ever imagined. He taught me to handle things with grace and to take one day at a time. His happy spirit and hilarious sense of humor are infectious and can brighten any day.

How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? I received a B.B.A. in finance, with a corporate concentration. As a corporate lawyer, I’m familiar with accounting and financial terms, which is important in my practice because of the role they play in negotiations. By understanding how to read financial statements, and having familiarity with the accounting side of a business, I’m better suited to advise clients on the impact that mechanisms or provisions will have in a transaction. It’s also helpful to understand nonlegal aspects of corporate transactions when analyzing things from a client’s perspective.

How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? In law school, I thought I would become a litigator. While I was looking for a job, I had the opportunity to interview with Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow for a corporate attorney position. I enjoyed meeting the people at my firm and I knew it was a great professional opportunity. Becoming a corporate attorney was the best decision I could’ve made.

What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? The most significant change I’ve seen is the increase in technology-related work. Our firm handles matters that range from licensing of software, to development and integration of various application program interfaces, to data handling and data privacy issues. Data also may be subject to the laws of multiple jurisdictions, sometimes offering different protections. Seeing the evolution of technology law has been interesting.

What community service have you pursued and why that? I got involved in the Young Lawyers Section of the Jacksonville Bar Association several years ago by volunteering for Noon in June and Holidays in January. I’ve since joined the YLS board of governors, and I now serve as the secretary. Through my service, I’ve connected with several people I likely never would have had the opportunity to meet, and I have a strong network I can reach out to if I have a question or need advice. This is true for both my professional and personal lives.

What’s your advice for new lawyers? Get involved in an organization and join committees or leadership. The impact that your involvement will have on your personal and professional life will lead you to meet a mentor, a future client, a future employer or great friends. It’s a great way to expand your network and immerse yourself in a community of interesting people.

Age: 32

Education: University of North Florida, bachelor of business administration; University of Florida Levin College of Law, J.D.

Hometown: Nevada, Missouri, although I grew up mostly in Palm Harbor, New Port Richey and Jacksonville.

Family: Husband, John Thomas; son, William Thomas

Favorite book: “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman

Book I’m reading now: “Becoming” by Michelle Obama

Website I can’t live without: The Weather Channel. I check it every morning, and many times before I go outside. 

Favorite nonwork activities: Spending time with my family and working out at the YMCA.

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