Below is Stephen's full interview with the Birmingham Business Journal, which subscribers can also see here:
Areas of practice: Commercial litigation, securities litigation and arbitration, business torts, shareholder litigation, complex litigation, class actions
Law school: University of Alabama School of Law
Why did you decide to be a lawyer? I wanted to help improve peoples’ lives.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your legal career? My greatest accomplishments have been recovering fair value for those squeezed out of closely held businesses. They were being strong-armed by people they once trusted. We helped them fight back and start their lives over.
Did you have a fictional attorney who has been your inspiration? Ransom Stoddard, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”
What’s your favorite legal TV show or movie? “Anatomy of a Murder”
What’s the biggest misconception people have about lawyers from TV shows/movies? The biggest misconception is that we spend most of our time in court. Most of my time is spent drafting briefs, analyzing documents, preparing for hearings and depositions and figuring out how to move the case forward to a successful resolution.
What’s your philosophy on serving clients? Keep pressing forward until you either win or are dragged out of court.
What’s on top of your career bucket list? I’d love to argue a shareholder case in the Delaware Chancery Court.
What’s on top of your personal bucket list? Sail the Mediterranean.
What three qualities are the most critical for a great career in the legal field? 1) Mental flexibility; 2) tenacity; 3) salesmanship
If you could change one part of the legal process, what would it be and why? Predispute arbitration clauses have gotten out of control. You can’t invest money or buy a car in Alabama without being forced to sign one. Compelling consumers to waive constitutional rights is wrong.
What’s the hot topic in your practice area? Securities litigation has exploded. Declining energy prices caused the junk in investors’ portfolios to collapse. We’re representing several retirees who lost huge pieces of their nest egg.
What’s your favorite thing about being an attorney? I love being able to come alongside people and help them when they need it most.
What’s your least favorite thing about being an attorney? The rare days when you fight hard and scratch out a small but fair result in a tough circumstance and the client walks away disappointed because the outcome didn’t meet their expectations. I hate disappointing clients.
If you could make any change to improve metro Birmingham, what would it be? Birmingham needs to attract more industry and high-paying jobs.