" In my career, learning to practice law has come from actually practicing law."
Jimerson & Cobb partner Patrick Krechowski, who leads the law firm’s governmental relations, environmental and land use practice group, received the Urban Land Institute North Florida’s 2018 Member of the Year Award. He was recognized for his contributions in coordinating ULI’s Technical Assistance Panel program at Jacksonville University and Neptune Beach.
Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? I graduated from Florida State University with no real idea of what I wanted to do career-wise. Law school was really a last-minute decision for me. But once I decided to do it, I was totally committed to working my butt off until I graduated and passed the Bar exam. Once I did those things, the next step was to find a job working with good people that could help me actually learn how to be a lawyer. That was over 20 years ago and I still find myself looking for (and finding) good people to work with.
Something that inspires me: My 8-year-old Australian shepherd. Other than pulling away from the Starbucks drive-thru having failed to secure a puppuchino, the animal is always happy.
How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? I don’t. In fact, I rarely relate my law degree to practicing law. In my career, learning to practice law has come from actually practicing law. For more than 20 years I’ve been learning from my clients, my law partners, my opponents, judges, etc. My undergrad degree was an interesting set of courses that I thought I would use as a forensic or homicide detective. But I never did.
How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? My practice focuses on water and dirt. But like many other lawyers, my true practice area is people. I help people with their problems. Whether they’ve created the problem themselves or they are just having a really hard time navigating the bureaucracy that is inherent in our government agencies, I am there to help them.
What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? The thing about working in the area of real estate development is that it is always changing. Whether it’s politics, new regulations, the Great Recession, urban trends, active hurricane seasons, sustainability or something newer like medical marijuana, there is always change. I love that about environmental and land use law. It’s never boring.
What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? I think it has to be our approach to climate change and resiliency. Local governments are facing some huge challenges in the coming years from both a financial and developmental standpoint. And frankly, these challenges transcend the practice of law and involve work that will impact generations to come.
What community service have you pursued and why that? I am very involved with the Urban Land Institute’s North Florida Council. I have been fortunate to assist in developing several Technical Assistance Panels over the past year that have addressed redevelopment problems facing some of our communities. It is rewarding to facilitate a group of experts as they struggle with unique urban challenges facing our community and then develop real-world recommendations to improve the lives of those of us that call Jacksonville home.
What’s your advice for new lawyers? Find a good mentor. Practice area, firm/office reputation, salary and location are all important factors in beginning a career. But if you are starting your legal career without the resources and guidance of a good mentor, I feel for you and your clients.