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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jan. 22, 200312:00 PM EST

Sabbatical gives local lawyer a new perspective

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by Michele Newbern Gillis

Staff Writer

So many professionals work and work and work — sometimes for years without ever taking a vacation.

One local lawyer did just that until he finally had enough. Marc Mayo decided to leave his position at the MPS Group, Inc. and take an eight month sabbatical.

“I had a great experience there and had a lot of fun doing a lot of different things,” said Mayo. “I had accomplished what I thought I could accomplish there and worked an awful lot of hours, as many professionals do, so I didn’t have very much opportunity to see my family. I decided to take some time off. So, I transitioned my job to three other people and took some time off and spent it with my family.”

His first stop was Cancun, Mexico.

“It was the first vacation I had gone on without a laptop, cell phone and a meeting attached to it,” he laughed. “It was actually quite fun.”

He also was able to take his son to space camp, his daughter to look at colleges and his wife to Italy for a few weeks.

“It was the first time we had that kind of a vacation since we began having children 18 years ago,” said Mayo. “I lost about 50 pounds, got healthy again, got my batteries recharged and was able to take a number of vacations that I had given up over the years. I also put together a gala for juvenile diabetes and helped raise close to $100,000 to fund diabetes research.”

During the break, he gained a little perspective about how important it is to take time for family and fun. He has since returned to work, joining Rogers, Towers, Bailey, Jones & Gay law firm Jan. 1, mainly because of its strong family values.

“The plan is to try to spend more time with the family,” he said. “So far, my career has always operated at one speed and that is go and go fast. I really did enjoy this time off and I think one thing I liked about the culture of this firm is that there are many very hard working lawyers here. But as a firm, they place a strong value on spending time with the family and not killing yourself. It was certainly one of the more inviting things about the firm.

“I have a lot of friends who have joined this firm and are very happy here,” he said. “I just felt it was a good opportunity to go with a quality firm.”

He will run the labor and employment law department with partner Regi Young.

“I also have the flexibility here since I worked with so many different types of law with MPS Group, to work on some business transactional and contractual matters as clients see fit,” he said.

Because he was an in-house lawyer for many years, he now is in the process of rebuilding his clientele.

“I gave away all my clients six years ago to very good lawyers so they would take care of them,” he said. “Now, I am starting from a standing start so to speak and building a clientele over again. I’ll be trying to get my practice put back together again as well as working with the firm’s clients.”

He’s looking forward to his new opportunity with Rogers Towers and getting back into labor and employment law.

“It is a constantly changing area of the law where you get to come up with creative solutions that work with a particular employer,” said Mayo. “You learn how a lot of different businesses run, which is something I have always been interested in. I find it very challenging and it is a fun and exciting area of the law. It is a good combination of counseling and litigation.”

Mayo has a bachelor’s degree in American government from Georgetown University and earned his law degree at the George Mason School of Law.

After law school, he followed his wife to New Jersey and New York, working for a law firm there. Following a visit to his hometown — Jacksonville — he and his wife decided to relocate.

He joined Coffman, Coleman, Andrews & Grogan, where he spent 14 years practicing labor and employment law. He left the firm to join AccuStaff to create a legal department.

“As the general counsel I was over all of the legal functions of the company and senior vice president over human resources, legislative and governmental affairs and community affairs and I was corporate secretary of the public company,” he said.

Mayo is also president of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and takes the job to heart: his 17-year-old daughter has juvenile diabetes. He is a former president of The Jacksonville Bar Association and has been involved in several charitable organizations over the years.

“I’m a firm believer in giving back to the community,” said Mayo. “I keep busy and I try to give back to the community.”

He has been married to Anne, a homemaker, for 24 years. They have three children, Sarah, 17, Shannon, 16 and Michael, 10.

They live in San Marco and when he is not working, Mayo enjoys spending quality time with the family.

“It’s a new challenge for me,” said Mayo. “I often think your work life is divided into different chapters and I’ve had two chapters of my life that I am very proud of. This is kind of my third chapter that is involved in rebuilding a practice and helping my partners excel and reach new levels. I’m very challenge driven and goal oriented. I’m looking forward to the challenge of succeeding again at the challenge of law.”

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