"My interest in the law emanated from a desire to make a difference in areas of economic policy and to help people as a result."
Eric Holshouser recently became a shareholder at the Rogers Towers law firm in Jacksonville. He is president of the Academy of Florida Management Attorneys and chair of the American Lung Association Southeast Region.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? My interest in the law emanated from a desire to make a difference in areas of economic policy and to help people as a result. I have a particular interest in labor relations issues.
Someone other than my spouse who inspires me: When it comes to practicing law, Daniel R. Coffman Jr. sure pointed a lot of us in the right direction.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? My undergraduate degree in economics not only impacted my approach to public policy and the law, but I have found statistical analyses I studied in undergraduate and graduate school to be very useful in practicing employment law. Also, before law school, I received a masters’ degree in labor and employment relations which helped prepare me for what I do as a labor and employment lawyer.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? The biggest change has been a shift away from traditional labor law, involving union organizing, unfair labor practice proceedings and collective bargaining, to employment-related litigation and jury trials. Indeed, since I began practicing, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act were passed into law, not to mention expansion and changes in other employment laws.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? Expansion of LGBT rights in the workplace, along with a continuing migration to alternative dispute resolution for employment-related claims, perhaps even using artificial intelligence.
If I could change anything in the legal system, I would: Adopt ways to make the legal process less expensive and time-consuming for clients, yet retain a high degree of fairness.
What community service have you pursued and why that? I have had family affected by lung disease so I have been actively involved in the American Lung Association. Breathing is such a critical life activity and more needs to be done to support lung cancer research, help those who need to manage lung disease and advocate for clean air.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? They should strive to work diligently and efficiently to produce excellent work product and become indispensable to those for whom they work, but also make sure they get involved in civic or Bar activities they are passionate about. Doing so not only helps make a positive difference, but allows new attorneys to enhance their reputations in the Bar and community.
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