Partner, Harris Beach PLLC
Years in current role:18
What do you enjoy most about being a litigator?
My answer has not changed from my first day as a lawyer—helping people. I started my litigation career as a prosecutor handling narcotic cases. I was in the courtroom on almost a daily basis, and felt like I was helping people by making a difference in our community. Now, as a commercial litigator, I work on behalf of my clients to resolve business disputes favorably. While the substance of my work has changed over the years, at its very core, my enjoyment comes from exactly the same place—helping people.
What do you consider your biggest success in navigating the litigation process during the pandemic?
The pandemic was personally and professionally disruptive in so many ways. The litigation process is built on in-person interaction and suddenly that couldn’t happen. It was a recipe for chaos and confusion. As co-leader of our Business and Commercial Litigation group, I’m really proud of how our team, attorneys and staff came together to work through the issues. But this was true across the litigation bar. Everybody—courts, counsel, staff — committed to finding a way through this together. It’s heartening to know that we can put our adversarial instincts aside and work together mutually to benefit clients and the justice system.
What do you see as the biggest changes in the legal industry in the next 3-5 years?
The legal industry has made so much progress in embracing technology during the pandemic. I am confident there is no going back. I think this progress will continue, and we will see a lot of changes designed to streamline the litigation process. Things like virtual court appearances and depositions are not going away anytime soon.
What trial are you most proud of in your career?
I tried a case in the middle of the pandemic with my partner, Kelly Foss. It was one of the very few in-person trials in New York to go forward in 2020. It was an experience like no other in my career, complete with rubber gloves, facemasks, and clear face shields for the witnesses. Outside the courtroom, the courthouse was eerily quiet. And while the lawsuit itself was civil in nature, woven into the facts was an unsolved murder mystery. Our client won on all counts.
What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?
I am a member of the program committee for the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, which provides collaborative services and support in child abuse response, healing, and prevention. As a former prosecutor and as a Dad, I support this organization because I believe we have to do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us.