A periodic Q & A session with a Lewis Thomason (LT) lawyer
Lewis Thomason: What is one thing you will never do again?
William Mynatt, Jr.: Avoid doing something because it scares me. I might fail; I might get hurt; I most likely will find something fun or educational or even just conquer a silly fear
Lewis Thomason: If you could change something in the world, what would it be?
William Mynatt, Jr.: I would like everyone to stop and consider almost all of what they do in light of the effect it will have on those close to them, or just everyone in general. A lot of misery or even just delay could be avoided if everyone felt a bit more responsible to everyone else.
Lewis Thomason: Star Wars or Star Trek?
William Mynatt, Jr.: Star Trek was my after school necessity through most of elementary school, and it has many more and better life lessons, but Star Wars got to the movie theaters at about the same time I first saw movies that way and it will always be my favorite movie. It is Star Wars, by the way, and not IV or “A New Hope”. I read recently that I was the target audience for Star Wars and it has stuck with me.
Lewis Thomason: What is one thing that should be taught in school that isn’t already?
William Mynatt, Jr.: Is American Civics still required? Seems like maybe not and certainly should be. Early.
Lewis Thomason: What is your favorite thing to do in Knoxville?
William Mynatt, Jr.: If it is winter time, I am usually getting away as much as I can justify and afford. I love that if the weather is cooperative, there is usually some kind of festival or activity going on that is at least worth walking around and seeing the people. Even just Market Square people watching in the evenings or weekends can be fun. Add a nice dinner downtown and a movie on the couch and I am pretty happy.
Lewis Thomason: Describe your most memorable moment in a deposition or a trial?
William Mynatt, Jr.: I started my career as an associate of Charlie Susano. I learned an enormous amount from him and from Sarah Sheppeard when we had to manage his practice during his absence. I watched him take the deposition of the husband in a difficult divorce case that began with the normal “what is your full name?”, “Where do you live?” routine. The husband replied that he did not understand the question. The next hour was spent rephrasing the question of where the gentleman resided. The jurisdiction of the local court was not at issue and we spent a lot of time afterwards speculating about why he resisted the question, but he eventually gave an answer with a lot of conditional clauses and Charlie moved on. I think it made him far more skeptical of the answers he was receiving because it was clear very early that this man had something he felt he needed to hide.
Lewis Thomason: If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
William Mynatt, Jr.: If it were only one day, I’d ski in the Alps. Most of the things on the bucket list would take more than one day: seeing Europe, or Asia, or South America, a stay at the Giraffe Hotel in Africa.
Lewis Thomason: What book is on your bedside table (or on your e-reader)?
William Mynatt, Jr.: Any number of novels. I just finished On Tyranny, by Timothy Snider and reread 1984. Go Set a Watchman is sitting there waiting for me.
Lewis Thomason: What’s the best lesson you have ever learned?
William Mynatt, Jr.: Keep everything in perspective. Getting drawn into the problem prevents you from being able to see the potential solutions.
Lewis Thomason: What’s the first thing you do after work?
William Mynatt, Jr.: Lately I check the real estate listings for houses for sale in the neighborhoods of interest. Generally I stand in front of the open freezer and decide how much effort I want to put into dinner.
William A. Mynatt, Jr., Special Counsel and Supreme Court Rule 31 Mediator, is based in the firm’s Knoxville office. Bill was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and grew up there with a decade divided by several years in Chicago, Illinois, and the Maryland suburbs of the District of Columbia.
Mr. Mynatt’s practice emphasizes courtroom and pretrial litigation, primarily representing parties in domestic relations matters, but also including personal injury, worker’s compensation, and probate matters. Mr. Mynatt is a firm believer that parties can do a better job resolving issues without the court, but that being well-prepared and willing to go to the courtroom makes such a resolution more likely. Mr. Mynatt also provides estate planning advice, especially in areas of nontraditional families. Mr. Mynatt has been a Tennessee Supreme Court certified civil mediator since 2005, and has mediated many family law cases to resolution. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Knoxville Bar Association and has served as the Co-Chairman of the Family Law Section of the Knoxville Bar Association.