A periodic Q & A session with a Lewis Thomason (LT) lawyer
Lewis Thomason: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Steve Barton: I think it was John Thomason in an associate training meeting years ago who said that although all clients want to win their case, if they see that the lawyer is making an effort and keeping them up-to-date, they usually can accept a bad result. ESPECIALLY in a bad case, make sure your client knows what is going on. It is hard for a client to think you are not interested in and on top of his case when you provide regular updates.
Lewis Thomason: You’re stranded on a desert island – what music are you listening to?
Steve Barton: My favorite is Neil Young, but that would be way too depressing. I’d have to go with Tom Petty and Steely Dan.
Lewis Thomason: My biggest “pet peeve” is __________.
Steve Barton: The use of the word “issue” instead of the word “problem.” For example: The server had some “issues” and my computer crashed. Incorrect. The server had some problems and my computer crashed. Or: Poland had an “issue” with Germany in World War II. Wrong. Poland had a problem with Germany in World War II.
Lewis Thomason: What has been your greatest challenge as an attorney?
Steve Barton: Staying ahead of the curve. It’s like you’re constantly being chased by a pack of barking dogs. You better not trip.
Lewis Thomason: If you had time for a new hobby or to learn a new skill, what would you choose and why?
Steve Barton: Golf. I’ve played something similar for years but I don’t think I could call it a “skill.”
Lewis Thomason: Describe your most memorable moment in a deposition or trial.
Steve Barton: One time I was representing the plaintiff in a construction case. One of the defendants was a structural engineer. I took the discovery deposition of his expert. After going through the long list of errors made by the defendant, I asked the expert, “In light of all of that, would you agree that Mr. Defendant fell below the standard of care for structural engineers on this project? He responded, “Yes.” After a pause, I said “No further questions.” I doubt that will ever happen again.
Steve Barton is a Shareholder in the Memphis office. He has a wide practice in civil litigation and has successfully tried cases in state and federal courts. He has defended claims involving professional liability, construction, workers’ compensation, premises liability, intellectual property and personal injury. He has also defended criminal cases in state and federal courts. He has argued cases before the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Supreme Court as well as the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.