A periodic Q & A session with a Lewis Thomason (LT) lawyer
LT: When did you decide to become a lawyer?
John Tarpley: I always wanted to be a lawyer, but the real decision point came after undergraduate school when I was working for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. I was a journalist, and I decided that I wanted to do something else. I was either going to go to the University of Wisconsin and get a master’s degree in agricultural journalism or to law school. You know my choice. At that point, it was no turning back.
LT: What do you want your legacy to be?
John Tarpley: Well, that is a bit morbid; I hope that I don’t have to worry about that for a while. When the time comes, I hope that I will be remembered as having made a difference, having worked hard, and had a good time while doing it. But, again, I don’t want you to have to think about that for a while.
LT: What has been your greatest challenge as an attorney?
John Tarpley: Just ask my boss, Lisa, this question, and she will say many things. But, if I can say only one thing – it’s ever changing technology. Just when I learn how to use something, it changes or updates. And those passwords, yikes. How many do I have to remember?
LT: What motivates you?
John Tarpley: I really enjoy solving problems. I like getting to study a situation for a moment and then developing and implementing a plan to bring it to conclusion.
LT: What is the best advice you ever received?
John Tarpley: Except in matters of life and death, a personal relationship trumps everything.
LT: What was your first job and what did you learn from that experience.
John Tarpley: I was a stocker at Clark’s Discount Department Store in Murfreesboro on summer. It was hard work, to say the least. I learned the value of hard work, making friends, and having a great attitude.
LT: What is your biggest pet peeve?
John Tarpley: My biggest “pet peeve” is rude, disrespectful and lazy people.
LT: If you could change careers, what would you choose?
John Tarpley: Now, that is a hard one. There are so many things I would like to do. I wouldn’t mind writing books or hosting a “Dr. Phil”, “What’s the Scoop” type of television show.
LT: What books are you reading?
John Tarpley: I love to read, but I don’t take the time to read as much as I should. I am on a roll now. I am reading Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The Nashville associates and I are having a book club event out of it. Then, I am about to finish The Mannings. What a great book; I could hardly put it down. I just finished the Frontline Generation. It’s about how our generation responded to 9-11 and the leaders that were developed from it. Finally, I am reading Strong Inside, the story of the first African-American basketball player in the SEC.
John R. Tarpley, a shareholder in our Nashville office, has been involved in complex litigation in the areas of tort, transportation, product liability, professional liability, commercial law, casualty defense, and a wide range of insurance-related matters in both state and federal courts. Recently, he has devoted a significant portion of his practice to the mediation and arbitration of civil matters. He is certified as a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 mediator and has also been inducted into the distinguished Tennessee Academy of Mediators.