"The courtroom is this magical place where the laws of physics, and frankly those of reality, dissipate."
Michael Stover, a former assistant state attorney in the 7th Judicial Circuit, recently joined Lockett Law in Jacksonville Beach, where he represents clients accused of criminal offenses.
What inspired you to become a lawyer? A passion for people and a love of the law. I knew I enjoyed helping people and representing a side, ethically yet aggressively. I tried writing and hospitality, among other things, and then realized that law was the perfect fit for me when I took a tax law class at Florida State.
Someone who inspires me: Jason Lewis, my former boss at the State Attorney’s Office. He is as constant as the rain, brilliant by its very definition. He is the type of attorney I aspire to be.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? English has helped me in many ways in the law. It has also hurt me. One colleague once described me by stating, “Your brilliance is only outweighed by your inability to apply it practically.” Writing in a flowery, imagistic style has a way of confusing legal minds. After I figured out how to write legally, I have been able to subtly put an English touch on legal writing.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? The courtroom is this magical place where the laws of physics, and frankly those of reality, dissipate. There is nothing like reading the facts of a case in a charging affidavit, then watching the trial on the same facts. Is the person credible, are the facts egregious? The courtroom is where the answer is found.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? The practice of law has become increasingly combative. The reality of the legal system is, it’s not personal. There is a degree of candor and civility that must occur between two attorneys.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? Statistics will become so engrained not only in government attorneys’ jobs, but private attorneys’ jobs. Did you get your client the best deal? Did you represent ethically based on numbers and prior results? The reality of the law is it’s anomalous and therefore so are the results. Numbers cannot create probability and patterns where none exist.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Do whatever you think is right, then listen. If you have researched the legal issues, pursued mentors and gotten all of the information you can, do what you think is right. If it doesn’t work, learn why you made the mistake. After you mess it up, go back for advice, see what you could have done better. You always learn more from your losses.