Clancy Boylan, Morgan & Morgan
Boylan believes that the firm’s policy of pushing cases to trial when appropriate helps create a more open and collaborative environment for mentorship. Strategizing about things like the order of witnesses or what to emphasize during a trial helps give younger attorneys insight into the thought processes of more experienced lawyers. That process of working together and sharing knowledge and expertise is invaluable for the long-term success of any firm or business.
Boylan makes it a point to involve newer attorneys in the trial process where he can, often enlisting them to handle an opening statement, a cross-examination, or the like. This helps those less experienced attorneys learn and grow through hands-on experience.
As you built your career, who mentored you?
One of my earliest mentors was Greg Fellerman, who I worked under at Fellerman & Ciarimboli. He started his firm by himself, and now has three offices with 14 attorneys. After arriving at Morgan & Morgan, Managing Partner Jonathan Rabinowitz and COO Reuven Moskowitz served as crucial mentors for me when it came to the business side of running and growing a law firm. Matt Morgan, the Managing Partner of Morgan & Morgan’s Personal Injury Department, has also been an important mentor when it comes to legal strategy. He’s always just a phone call away, and that’s pretty amazing at a firm of our size. Without the assistance and insight of all these people, I would not be where I am today.
What is the value of robust mentorship?
It’s crucial to have a culture in which attorneys are comfortable asking questions if they need guidance so they can find the answer without fear of punishment. When that’s in place, people can only get better. At many law firms, you’re expected to “fake it until you make it” because attorneys don’t want to appear to have a lack of knowledge. That’s no way to run a business, nor does it lead to success in the courtroom. Juries are smart. At the end of the day they have tons of common sense regardless of their backgrounds. They will sniff out nonsense if you try to bring them nonsense. You have to go in there with a plan and the knowledge of why you’re doing what you’re doing so you believe in your cause 100 percent. An environment where attorneys are encouraged to ask questions and where more experienced lawyers bring younger attorneys under their wing goes a long way toward inspiring and building the skill and confidence necessary to be a successful trial lawyer.
Keeping in mind today’s rapidly changing profession, what’s one piece of advice you would give to a young lawyer?
Don’t be afraid to bet on yourself and take risks. There’s a good probability that you’re going to fail, but you’ll learn so much more from that risk and that failure that you can apply toward future success.