Jacqueline M. Thomas
Partner, Lacy Katzen LLP
Years in current role: 21
What has been your biggest success over the past year?
Being named the Best Lawyers’ Lawyer of the Year for Plaintiff’s Medical Malpractice Law 2022. Because Best Lawyers’ awards are based upon peer reviews, the recognition carries special significance to me. I am honored to have been recognized by other attorneys in my community for my work in medical malpractice.
What advice would you give someone starting out as a litigator right now?
Strive to become the best lawyer you can be. Many young lawyers come out of law school with false expectations about what being a litigator means. They quickly learn that most of their work is done outside the courtroom. They discover they must hone their skills and build their practice. They will not be picking juries and trying cases every day. While courtroom skills are vital, I would advise a young litigator to embrace the lifetime process of hard work, research, writing, client counseling, asking questions, critical thought, sleepless nights and learning from mistakes that makes the best litigators. There are no shortcuts. Becoming a skilled litigator is the journey of a lifetime. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your hard work produce results for your clients.
What is one personal goal you have for the next year?
To take the time to be a better mentor to young lawyers. We get so busy trying to do the best work we can for our clients that we often lose sight of the importance of mentoring and building strong relationships with young lawyers. When I look back over my career, most all of my successes are directly related to the outstanding guidance and mentoring I have had from so many different people. Within the law firm, outside of the law firm, within my practice area and from those who practice in completely different areas of law — the willingness of others to undertake the time and effort to mentor has made all the difference in my life.