My primary practice is that of traditional general practitioner. I handle civil matters, plaintiff and defense, estates, trusts and probate matters, family matters, business formation, transactions, litigation, regulatory matters and other areas where I have experience and people in the community need assistance.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
My practice has evolved significantly over the course of my career. For the first 14 years of practice I was in-house counsel for major insurance companies and banks. In those roles, I practiced in areas of regulation, corporate governance, internet law and specialty areas involving insurance and banks. I recall recognizing fully for the first time that virtually every business in existence had insurance and banking relationships and, as counsel for the financial institutions, it was our role to ensure we understand the businesses of our clients in order to adequately address their needs and issues. So, as counsel for financial institutions, I had the opportunity to learn about all types of businesses and the systems and environments in which they operate.
Over the last few years my practice has continued to evolve. Initially upon starting my own practice, I prepared a business plan laying out the practice areas I would focus on and prepared pro formas of revenue streams I would need to meet my stated goals. Needless to say, the plan has needed to be updated, revised and retooled on a consistent basis. The economic situation of the last 7 years has changed the needs of the communities I serve. Instead of helping people form and build businesses, more focus was needed on unraveling businesses and helping people recover from their unexpected circumstances. I regularly do a gut check and make sure I am prepared to offer services that are needed so that I can maintain or acquire competencies to meet those needs.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
I often provide advice to young(er) lawyers, it is this: Have a plan and make sure it is adaptable. Things are going to change, fast and consistently; you need to stay up on your competencies and be aware of how your law practice is evolving. Your plan needs to be a living plan that adapts to change and allows you to maintain the flexibility to do so. Finally, remember your duty to counsel clients, as well as to be a zealous advocate. The two are often mutually exclusive concepts, and often times what clients need is advice/counsel, not necessarily being led directly into contentious litigation.
What is the one technological device you could not function without daily?
When I started practicing in 1991, my secretary had an IBM Memory writer typewriter with the capacity to store 8 pages and she worked for three attorneys. Then we got a Wang system. Talk about change, revolutionary change.
My PC and the server where I back up my data and share my information with my tablet, phone and home system are where all of my information is stored and from. I also access all of my necessary tools for research from there. This includes calendars, client files and research tools. My system is customized for me so that I know where my data is, how to access it and how to cross reference information so that the wheel does not have to be reinvented for each undertaking. The PC is thus an indispensable part of my practice.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
Civility is the key to our profession. Our ability to work with other attorneys in often highly contentious environments is essential to our overall success. Our ability to shape the view that the public has on lawyers and the practice of law is essential to our standing as a profession and to maintain the confidence of the public in the services and functions that we serve. I started my practice in an area where I knew very few people and was unfamiliar with the local rules and customs. By introducing myself, sharing information on my background and asking local attorneys for their input on local matters, I have been able to establish and maintain a viable practice and have made friends with many area attorneys. I am now comfortable picking up the phone and calling most any attorney in the area, knowing that we can have a professional conversation regarding the issues that exist between our clients. Through this confidence, I am able to help clients achieve timely and more economical results by cutting out fears and hesitations about discussing issues. Through communication, I am able to focus on searching for solutions to the issues at hand.
What do you do for fun?
Beyond the law, I have numerous interests. I enjoy golfing with my wife and friends, as well as hiking our property near the Shawnee National Forest (there are also some great wineries in the area that are fun to visit and to take friends who are visiting us).
Jack Cranley offers legal services to small to mid-size business owners and to individuals on a wide range of civil legal issues. Mr. Cranley’s diverse legal experience provides him with unique insight into a wide array of legal matters important to business owners. He also offers thoughtful and insightful advice to individuals on matters of Estate Planning, Divorce, and Bankruptcy.