Partners Dennis Dore, Sam Lanier, Dan Noey and John “Buck” Fannin opened the law firm in July in the Humana building.
WHY SET UP SHOP DOWNTOWN?
“Because of the professional environment and it’s short distance from the new and existing courthouses,” said Dore.
WHERE DID THE PARTNERS COME FROM?
“Sam and Dan were at Coker Myers, Buck was of-counsel at Taylor Day & Currie and I was at Cole, Stone, Stoudemire, Morgan & Dore,” said Dore.
“The four partners combined have over 100 years experience,” added Noey. “We’re experienced and aggressive.”
ANY HARD FEELINGS?
“We’ve gotten positive feedback from the legal community, judges and our clients,” said Dore. “Most acknowledge and respect our reasons for leaving.”
WHY DID YOU START THE FIRM?
“For personal and professional growth,” said Noey. “What brought us together was that we’re all standing practice lawyers. All of the partners are AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. We all had a vision of what we wanted. We wanted to see if we could do this on our own and be our own boss. This is an opportunity to try something different; to start our practice from ground level is exciting.”
HOW DID YOU MEET?
“Dennis and I had a case together last year,” said Noey. “After that, we started talking about it. We were thinking about it for about six months.”
“Sammy practiced in the same firm as Dan, and Buck approached me through a mutual client we had,” added Dore.
WHAT IS YOUR AREA OF PRACTICE?
“Every partner has his own different area,” said Noey. “I do medical malpractice, nursing home litigation and some product liability. Sam does animal law in addition to general insurance defense.”
“I do insurance defense, commercial litigation, fraud and arson and insurance coverage work,” said Dore. “Buck does strictly fraud and arson and insurance coverage.”
HOW MANY ON STAFF?
Seventeen, including six lawyers, five paralegals, five secretaries and receptionist/office manager.
“This is a congenial environment,” explained Dore. “We have a very talented and happy staff.”
“Their professionalism makes our life much easier and helps us serve our clients better,” said Noey. “You don’t want someone not to like their job.”
WILL YOU ADD MORE ASSOCIATES?
“We haven’t had a shortage of inquiries about people wanting to come on board as paralegals, secretaries, even attorneys,” said Dore. “We are laying the groundwork for the next generation of lawyers in this firm. We have some very fine young lawyers here and I look forward to them taking over the practice one day.”
WHAT MAKES YOUR FIRM DIFFERENT?
“A sole practitioner can’t do the same amount of work [as a big firm] but we’re small enough to contract and expand according to our needs,” said Noey. “It’s nice to have the combined corporate knowledge to call upon. The other nice thing about us coming together is that we are able to bring in state-of-the-art equipment, new filing systems, Dictaphones, Internet service. As a result, the technology is pretty advanced.”
WHY SHOULD A CLIENT CHOOSE YOU?
“We’re very oriented towards serving our clients’ best interests,” said Dore. “We are ever cognizant of the clients and companies we represent. I feel we’re very communicative as well. That’s part of why our customers are so loyal. Most of our clients come to us because of a particular lawyer they want involved. We are known from our past work and not necessarily the firm.”
“We would like to generate work through community activities,” said Noey.
“And from existing and satisfied customers,” added Dore.
WHAT IS THE COMPANY’S LONG TERM GOAL?
“We just opened our doors so we’re still trying to figure out exactly what we’re going to do in five years,” said Noey. “What we’re interested in is not growing to be a large law firm. We would like to be discriminating as to the type of cases we take so we can maintain some control. We all come from firms that were bigger, but we like the small, manageable size.”
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY?
“Strive to be the best you can be and have fun doing it,” said Lanier.
“And feeling good about it,” added Dore. “We’ve made decisions that are the right kind to make.”
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE?
“The public is inundated with advertisements to the point where they can’t watch television without a lawyer advertising about his free initial consultation,” said Lanier. “I think it cheapens the image of the profession.”
“Professionally, I don’t care for the things I’m seeing with the advertising,” said Noey. “I have nothing against advertising but you can see the affect on the jurors. A lot of jurors don’t like lawyers that advertise. It’s so pervasive that it’s a liability for those that don’t because they think all lawyers do this and they don’t. I understand why they do. Some have to survive. Others have gotten more professional in their approach but it has always been an albatross around the neck of attorneys.”
— by Monica Chamness