Leadership Metro Richmond, firm administrative partner during recent U.S. expansion, VBA Law Practice Management Division chair
Troutman Sanders LLP
1001 Haxall Point
Richmond, VA 23219
BA, University of Richmond
JD, University of Virginia
Who was your most important mentor and how did that mentor impact your career?
I have been fortunate to have many different mentors among lawyers with whom I have practiced (most still active), as well as those I have met through representing opposing parties, and in bar and community activities. I have tried to model myself after the best qualities and behaviors I have observed among all of them. Based upon my current responsibilities at Troutman Sanders, the person with the greatest influence on my career is John S. Davenport, Chairman of Mays & Valentine (Troutman’s predecessor in VA) for first five years I was with the firm. In addition to being a superb lawyer and community leader, Mr. Davenport devoted hours each week to meeting with our attorneys to hear about our cases, issues that were troubling us and client relations issues, Sometimes he offered advice (always spot on), and sometimes he just listened. We always knew that he cared about us and wanted us to be successful. Mr. Davenport’s daily demonstration of care and concern for people, and willingness to help us in any way possible, was the most influential demonstration of law firm leadership I have observed in my career.
What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment and why?
In concert with numerous other leaders of Mays & Valentine throughout the 1990s, helping the firm reach its full potential as stand-alone operation, and then leading the 150 lawyers of M&V into Troutman Sanders in 2001. On a truly personal level, I am proud of my two daughters, who are charming, confident and working to the best of their abilities.
What is the best bit of advice you ever received?
A trial lawyer’s job is to give advice, in the form of useful recommendations, as opposed to laying out the most ridiculous things that the worst judge or jury in America could do to their case.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
I do not pretend to have a work-life balance. I work at each to the best of my ability, and that is all I can do.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what field would you have entered?
A teacher at the high school or college level.
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
Favorite movies: The Godfather and The Sound of Music, both of which reflect family values and strong leadership skills, as well as a main character who overcomes odds to conquer adversity. Favorite Book: Bobby Jones – The Grand Slam and the Story of Golf in America, which reflects the same themes.
What are two facts about you that most people, including your closest friends, may not know?
In under five minutes, I can teach anyone with two working hands to juggle three balls; I hold a copyright on a how-to juggling book. In 2004, I passed the written test for the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” but flunked the interview.