Writing my own headlines….about me…..in the third person…it doesn’t get any lamer. Not for a second.
The Connecticut Law Tribune has named me a 2016 New Leader In The Law.
I am among 37 winners, who were judged by a panel of four judges for development of the law, advocacy/community contributions, service to the bar, and peer/public recognition.
When I googled “ct law tribune new leaders in the law 2016” I came across a number of press releases from large firms. There’s a story here. I promise.
When the Hartford Business Journal named me “40 Under 40” for 2014, I was seriously asked at a pre-event dinner, “who is your PR person?” I chuckled. I said I do all of my own press.
I was then asked “who nominated you?”. I smiled and said “I nominated myself”.
Many of these awards are bestowed upon folks by their employers. Big firms submit X number of associate names to the Law Tribune. Presumably it is a good sign your firm is submitting your name.
There was a point in my life, probably most of it, that I would have been embarrassed about this. But somewhere in my journey of self employment – I stopped caring about such things.
When you are a solo – awards are nice. At a big firm you’ll get recognition from your colleagues. When you’re a solo, such recognition has a different value. They help boost your Avvo rating. They may legitimize you in the eyes of clients. Having your name in the paper in front of other lawyers may result in referrals.
So if you are solo, have no PR person, no partner to nominate you – consider nominating yourself.
The CT Law Tribune announced its 2015 Personal Injury Hall of Fame Inductees.
The CT Law Tribune named 13 firms to its Personal Injury Hall of Fame. McKeen Law Firm is one of the firms being honored by the Law Tribune. McKeen Law Firm was a finalist for the Motorcyclist category, having achieved one of the highest settlements or verdicts in a wrongful death action in a motorcycle case.
Last year, the Law Tribune debuted its Personal Injury Hall of Fame awards. The intent was to honor some of the highest dollar—and highest profile—personal injury cases in Connecticut. CT Law Tribune
More than anything I’m thankful for the support of wonderful clients. Without their faith in me this wouldn’t have happened. I was fortunate to be able to work on a case that provided me with the opportunity to seek counsel from some of the finest trial lawyers in the state and country.
I’m fortunate to have worked with fantastic experts. And to have had Brennen Maki by my side as we prepared to try the case. Brennen is a first rate lawyer.
He is a tenacious advocate for the injured. I’ve seen him work tirelessly for his clients. Andrew wears his commitment to his clients on his sleeve. He gets results for his clients.
Andrew is committed to learning and developing the very best trial and advocacy methods available. Unleashing these cutting edge techniques has yielded and will continue to yield results for folks who have suffered harms and losses as a result of someone else choosing to violate safety rules. We’ve traveled long distances together to attend national seminars taught by the finest lawyers in the country.
On January 1, 2015, Andrew moved his main office in with McKeen Law Firm, LLC in Glastonbury. Our respective clients will now yield the benefits of having two of the National Trial Lawyers “40 under 40” for Connecticut under the same roof. Andrew will retain his office in Hartford.
At this time, we are operating under two separate firms. Andrew will continue operating the Law Offices of Andrew P. Garza, LLC and I will continue operating McKeen Law Firm, LLC. However we have formed an alliance to better serve injured clients. For example, Attorney Garza practices in the area of workers compensation which I do not. Attorney Garza will allow us to keep our workers compensation cases “in house”.
And their are larger alligators we hope to wrestle. Prosecuting catastrophic injury cases is often difficult as a solo. Andrew and I will be working collaboratively on some cases relying on each other’s resources, skills, and expertise to better serve both of our clients.
Most importantly, Andrew is a good guy. I’m learning a lot from him. I believe our alliance will yield dividends for all stake holders, most of all our respective and joint clients.
On my side of the coin, this addition reflects a commitment to growing my injury and wrongful death practice areas. Joining forces with Attorney Garza will yield many benefits to those injured as a result of negligence in Connecticut.
We share a common vision, a commitment to best practices, and the drive to fight diligently for our clients. To that end, I will be serving as Of Counsel to Andrew’s firm as well. This will enable us each to assist each other.
“Always plan your day around lunch.” – Judge Smith
One of the great blessings in my nine years of practice has been the willingness of experienced lawyers to share their insights. The practice of law is literally that. It’s a practice. Practice is best with coaches. I’m writing this to share Judge Smith’s advice about lunch.
Why am I writing a post about lunch? Because, when Judge Smith told me to plan my day around lunch – I initially thought he was kidding. I’ve come to learn that he wasn’t. I met Judge Smith at lunch with my bosses.
Lunch is a special time for me. Often, I eat lunch at my desk while working. But at least once a week – I try and get out. Being a father of two young children – I do everything I can to be home for dinner with my family. My days of Young Lawyer networking Happy Hours are long gone. The only professional commitments that I make in the evening is to Inn of Court which meets once a month. I otherwise avoid evening commitments if at all possible because reading “Goodnight Moon” to my son and daughter means everything to me.
Lunch is my opportunity and I try to seize it.
In September, I had a meeting in New Haven. A place I only venture to a handful of times each year. My meeting got out at 11. I texted my brother who works in New Haven and asked if he wanted to grab lunch. He said “sure”. On a perfect September day, we walked to a Mexican restaurant and had lunch. It was a time to connect and reconnect.
There have been lunches with classmates, friends, and colleagues. The life of a practicing lawyer is often a moving target. Hearings run long. Closings get rescheduled. Cases settle. A lawyer’s calendar is always in a state of flux. Clients always take priority. Sometimes the first thing I do when I get in after checking my schedule is ask myself “what am I going to do for lunch?” Time permitting I’ll email or text a colleague and schedule a lunch meeting. We catch up, we discuss cases, and we discuss practice. I can’t tell you how many of these conversations that I’ve cherished over the years.
This summer after wrapping up closing arguments in hotly contested trial in New London – I grabbed lunch with co-counsel and opposing counsel at a deli near the court. The pulled pork was outstanding. The company was better. Being able to sit down with adversaries after a hotly contested trial where both sides were vigorously represented was refreshing. We talked little about the trial. We mostly talked about our kids and summer. It was great.
If I have a meeting in the northern part of the state, I try to time it in order to have lunch with parents.
At home my meals can feel rushed. My son is 16 months and my daughter is 4. My son needs his food cut. My daughter wants something. It is often loud. My son gets tired early in the evening. DInner feels like the thing we do before bathing, changing, reading and putting our kids to bed before we start getting ready for the next day.
Why am I mentioning dinner in a column about lunch? Because when possible I try to steal a quick date with my wife. Grabbing a 45 minute lunch feels like spending hours together. We’re not cutting food or answering questions about giants. We’re able to talk…..in peace. It feels vacation.
Oh and Chilis. My daughter loves Chilis. My office is a short walk from Chilis. On school vacations she often comes into the office with me. We go to lunch at Chilis. I love this time with her. Someday she’ll have lunch plans with colleagues, friends, and maybe her husband. But for now, going to Chilis with her Dad is awesome. Never miss a chance to do awesome.
Lunches with clients are critical. Getting to know a client and build a relationship over a meal can yield countless dividends.
This summer I went to Cafe Mantic with my wife for our anniversary. I read about it in the New York Times and decided to make the trip on the way home from Watch Hill. I’m glad we did because it was outstanding.
Yesterday, I had a mediation in Willimantic with Judge RIley from 9 to 1. A few weeks ago, I received a call from Manchester Probate court looking to schedule a hearing. I looked at my schedule and asked that the hearing be scheduled for 3. I did this because sometimes a mediation, particularly if it is productive can run long. But I also hoped that a 3 o’clock hearing would give me time to enjoy lunch at Cafe Mantic.
My mediation ended at 1:00. The case resolved. My client was very pleased with the result. I headed down to Cafe Mantic. Opened my laptop – caught up on the emails and messages that I couldn’t get to during the mediation. Prepared for my 3 o’clock hearing. And I quietly celebrated the successful mediation with a salad and some of the best coffee that I’ve ever had. Connecticut is full of great places to have lunch.
McKeen Law Firm, LLC turns one today. It has been an amazing year. We’ve championed causes at trial, on appeal, and before the General Assembly. Many of our victories have occurred in resolving matters favorably for our clients in ways that don’t grab headlines. We’re proud of our work.
This year I’ve spent a lot of time and money improving my trial advocacy skills. I’ve attended national seminars and have developed an extensive library of the most cutting edge trial materials available. I’ve invested time and resource into putting technology to work for our clients both in the courtroom and in our office.
The investments have and will continue to pay dividends. This summer, I took a matter to trial 6 days after I was hired, and three days after I filed suit. I squared off against 3 lawyers and a small army of assistants from one of Connecticut’s largest firms. Ultimately, the judge found in favor of the defendants on a question of law that no court had ever addressed. While the result wasn’t what I had hoped for, I’m proud of the fight we put up at trial. Opposing counsel – ever gracious – couldn’t believe that I was able to pull off this kind of trial on such short notice.
There have been victories at trial as well. I’m proud of those but wise enough to know that strong advocacy has little to do with result. We’ll continue winning cases in our second year.
We’ve also invested significant resource into streamlining our real estate closings. The goal is to have the client’s walk out saying “that was easy”. The processes that my team has in place continue to yield satisfied clients and have allowed us to lower our fees on closings.
As my workload has increased my blogging has suffered. I’m aware of this and working on ways to expand the presence of this site and others.
I’m actively exploring ways to grow and better serve my clients. This next year is going to be big. To reflect this, I’ve changed the cover page of several social media accounts to the lion pictured above.
In year two, “we’re running to roar”. We’re ready to hit our stride.
Many thanks to my family, friends, and clients who have placed their faith in my. I could not operate without you. I am forever grateful.
A year ago yesterday, I began building McKeen Law Firm. I didn’t know where my office was going to be, what my firm was going to be named, or when I was going to open. Life had given me a blank slate.
While my name makes the Hartford Business Journal – my success wouldn’t be possible without the support of many people. I’m most grateful to my family for supporting me. When I needed it the most they were they helped and believed in me. Thank you, Allison and Mom and Dad.
None of what I do would be possible without the assistance of Ruth Deslauries who capably assists me on litigation files and Jackie Pentalow who makes smooth real estate closings possible.
Most of all this wouldn’t be possible without my clients. Thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to earn your trust.
Being selected is great. Now time to get back to work. Thank you.
“You’re going to look back and think this was one of the best things that’s happened to you professionally.”
It surely didn’t feel that way at the time. Those were the words of a partner to me in my first year of practice. I was in the middle of one of the nastiest and most difficult cases that I’ve encountered in my nearly 9 years of practice. It was a commercial eviction.
I am representing the landlord. The tenant is represented by two law firms. The tenants lawyers file every motion in the book seeking to delay and/or deny my client possession of their property. I obtain judgment for my client but the case isn’t over.
It’s the day before Christmas Eve. It’s supposed to be an easy day in the office. I plan to have lunch with the partners after exchanging gifts. Except I get served with an injunction, ordering me to refrain from serving a writ of execution. The fax machine starts spewing out paper – motion after motion appears on my desk.
The clerk calls – the Judge wants argument on a Writ of Audita Querela at four o’clock. I’ve never heard of a writ of audita querela. The judge wants a brief in 90 minutes. I frantically research the the issue and respond.
Ultimately, I win a dismissal of the tenant’s case on appeal and gain possession of the premises for my client.
Going through the process was terrible. There were all sorts of motions, hearings, discovery, and challenges. My comfort zone as a young lawyer was being tested every day for months on this case.
Landlord-tenant law has been a part of my practice for 9 years. It is a quirky area of practice filled with pitfalls for the unwary. The very nature of summary process has helped me improve my trial and litigation skills – deadlines are quick and trials happen. I’ve represented both residential and commercial landlords and tenants.
The McKeen Law Firm Race to Fill the Pantry, a 5K course/ 2-mile course/ 1/4-mile children’s race hosted by the Glastonbury River Runners, will take place on Sunday, November 9th, 2014 at Riverfront Park in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
$5 from every registration fee will be donated to the Glastonbury Food Bank. Runners and walkers are asked to donate a non-perishable food item.
The Glastonbury River Runners were able to collect a trailer full of food for the Glastonbury Food Pantry as well as a check for $1500.00. In addition, I presented the food pantry with a check for $305.00, or $1 for every consecutive day that I ran in 2013.
McKeen Law Firm, LLC cannot help everyone with a legal problem. We are small.
We only take cases when we know we have the experience, competence, and resources necessary to make a difference.
This means we turn down work. All of the time.
Our commitment is to turning down work in a good way. At McKeen Law Firm, LLC you’ll never get “no, we can’t take your case”.
Clients and potential clients call us for help. We will never turn you away without trying to help you.
We may often be able to put you in the hands of a competent attorney who handles your kind of case. We know lots of good lawyers. We may be able to put you in contact with a no cost legal services provider or point you in the direction of an appropriate non-profit. We may be able to point you to an online resource.
Whatever your problem – big or small – we are happy to speak with you.
Ryan enjoys running in Connecticut. He is a veteran marathon runner. What he sees on Connecticut’s roads scares him – drivers choosing to drive distracted. These drivers needlessly endanger runners, cyclists, and pedestrians.
He understands the rights of runners because he loves running.
The purpose of www.ctroadsafety.com is to educate readers of the rights of runners, cyclists, and pedestrians. Ryan believes awareness is the first step in making Connecticut’s roads and highways safe.
The second step is accountability. Ryan regularly trades his favorite running shoes and the road for a suit and court. Ryan takes great pride in holding drivers who needlessly endanger the public accountable for their choices. He represents injured cyclists, pedestrians, and runners – and their families. It is his passion.
The third step is community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC pledges 10% of any fee it earns representing injured runners, cyclists, and pedestrians will go to charity. After a settlement or verdict, Attorney McKeen and the client will meet and mutually decide on a charity.
Justice is healing and protecting the community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC relentlessly seeks justice.
Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (860) 560-8163.