How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
This probably sounds cliché, but technology makes us available 24/7 and so the level of responsiveness that is expected has increased dramatically.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Simply to work hard, sweat the details, have a service mentality and do these things consistently every day. Recognize that it is highly competitive out there, and show yourself to be indispensable to clients and the partners you work for. It is a detail-oriented business and you will get burned if you don’t get into the habit early in your career of paying close attention to the details, no matter how small or large the task. Some of these things may seem easy and/or self-evident, but they are easy to overlook. It is important to not only have a strong work ethic, attention to detail and service mentality, but to be a consistent performer day in and day out.
What is the one technological device you could not function without daily?
Technology was a lot less critical to the practice of law when I started practicing. Now, computers and iPhones are essential. Whenever my computer is being worked on and is unavailable, I’m reminded how critical it is to being productive.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
At the conclusion of my first jury trial in 1998 (which was successful and resulted in a defense verdict), the trial judge pulled me aside and complimented the fact that throughout the trial I was courteous to the judge, his staff and all the witnesses. It is obviously impossible to know if that had any effect on the outcome of the trial, but the judge was of the belief that juries often notice such things. I am generally known as very nice and approachable and I think that has served me extremely well with clients, opponents, and perhaps most importantly, juries. I think there is a perception outside the legal profession that you have to be a shark to be a successful lawyer. That is just not the case and I have found that that type of personality can actually be counterproductive and can hinder success.
What do you do for fun?
My greatest joy is spending time with Joan, my wife of 18 years, and our children Grace (age 12) and Ben (age 9). Whenever I have free time, I look to spend it with them at a number of places we enjoy together (such as the park and playground, the zoo, the movies, the gym, and so forth). I am also currently learning how to play the guitar–my daughter Grace and I are taking lessons together.
David Richards joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in 1995. Mr. Richards has led more than 10 jury trials and has assisted in numerous other cases that have been tried to verdict. As he continues to grow his practice, Mr. Richards shares his experience with other attorneys as Co-Chair of Hinshaw’s Mentoring Committee. To read his full bio, click here.