It was the beginning of my journey ten years ago. I had been fired. I found myself sitting in my truck, head in my hands, eyes closed tight, and a box of my belongings set perched in the seat next to me. It was less than a year since I accepted a position as a family law attorney at a private firm, and I found myself jobless, a dearth of direction and dismayed at the recent events. I had a house payment due, a mountain of student loans, and my wife was eight months pregnant with our first child. I needed to find my way, and I had no room for failure. So, I did what I had been trained to do. I stepped back, I surveyed the entire chess board, and began putting pieces in play that would result in my success.
Today, I work with a variety of clients, but most cases are in the areas of Family Law, Personal Injury, and Criminal Defense. My law office serves litigants in Greene and Christian counties in Missouri, and we have a reputation for being prepared, aggressive, and most importantly, successful. In addition to a thriving practice, I enjoy serving as the Municipal Judge for the cities of Nixa, Billings, and Highlandville. I devote a considerable amount of time to one of Missouri’s first municipal treatment courts, which helps lower level offenders combat the underlying causes of criminal behaviour through treatment, rather than traditional means of punishment.
I use the experience I gain through my multiple practice areas to help tweak the strategies we employ in our cases. When a family law case comes into our office, we immediately start gathering information. We take a client-centred approach that evaluates the needs of the client in all aspects. Then, we use the facts, goals, and legal climate of that case to assist in putting pieces in play that will result in reaching our client’s end goals. Strategy based litigation has evolved significantly over the past ten years, and it has helped our office create success again and again. Clients use our online case management system to be connected to their case and the process. We use this open communication loop to help develop the ongoing changes to our strategy.
As our industry changes to keep up with new legislation, evolving case law, and emerging technology, Harris Law stays at the forefront of progression. We create, rather than follow, the gold standard for office and practice management by trail blazing the most difficult aspects of any evolution we are faced with. Most recently, Missouri has made significant changes to how Courts approach issues of custody and the “Father’s Rights Movement”. Harris Law has recognised the inherent importance of this matter to both mothers and fathers. Furthermore, our office has continued to push cases to trial when parents seek to threaten the intent of the law. This has resulted in un-matched success in both the Courtroom and in pre-trial negotiations.
Truth be told, this type of success is impossible without a staff that not only understands the vision, but has the legal skills necessary to achieve these goals. I use a staff of three paralegals and one office manager. The support staff uses pre-determined policies and procedures to make sure all deadlines are met and nothing falls through the cracks. This not only creates pressure for other parties and law firms, but helps reduce costs to clients. I encourage my paralegals to think like attorneys and develop strategies early on that can be carried through the end of the case. This, in turn, creates confidence, empowerment and it improves morale. Every employee of Harris Law works for every client, and they are trained to provide immediate assistance, despite the practice area. The staff at Harris Law is professional and caring, and they understand that while Harris Law has numerous cases that are important, each individual client has trusted Harris Law to handle the one case that is likely the most important thing in the client’s life.
Harris Law has established itself as a legal leader in the community, but this positioning is not without challenges. Harris Law consistently finds itself unable to meet the high demand of the community’s legal needs. As a result, Harris Law has had to limit new case acquisition and has continued to hire professional and efficient staff to meet increasing demands. This is a challenge any small firm attorney will have if they have developed a winning and successful strategy. I refer to this approach as “the small firm version of powerhouse litigation firms”. Harris Law works smarter, not harder. Finally, Harris Law creates a habit of success for its clients.
Whether it be in my personal life or in my representation of clients, I take to heart the enduring words of Anne Frank, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” It is this direction that helps our clients find their way.