One of the things Staley Law Firm’s Garrett Tomlinson loves the most about his job is helping people settle issues to help make their lives a little less stressful. Here’s what Mr. Tomlinson has to say about his career and achievements:
How long have you been at the firm?
I started working for Staley Law Firm in February of 2010. So, February 2015 will be my 5-year anniversary with the firm.
Where did you go to college and law school?
I got my undergraduate degree in Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence from Georgia Institute of Technology (everyone calls it Georgia Tech). Then I went to law school at Georgia State University. The two schools are near each other in the middle of Atlanta, so I lived downtown there for about 7 years.
What is one interesting fact about you?
I’m very fond of animals. I love to read. I’m a total math nerd. I’m a great cook. Take your pick.
Why did you decide to practice law?
I took a few law classes as electives during my undergraduate studies and became intensely interested in the law and knew I wanted to work in that field. I took some LSAT practice tests and did well, so I decided to read up more about law school and eventually applied. It was a great decision.
What is the most important thing a person going through the litigation process needs to know?
To know that I, as their attorney, will be by their side every step of the way. I want them to know that I will be completely prepared to represent them to the best of my ability and that I will make sure they are completely prepared to give any testimony they may need to give. I want them to know that their best interests always come first and I commit to advise them and guide them towards the best possible conclusion to their case.
What is the toughest thing about your career?
Being a lawyer is a busy and often stressful profession. I have many clients to watch over and keep their cases moving forward. I get lots of emails and phone calls, and I want to keep everyone happy and get back to them as quickly as possible. There’s a lot of juggling involved. Emergencies pop up from time to time, and there are also many scheduled events, such as depositions, mediations and hearings to attend. So, I’d say time management and stress management are the two toughest things about being a lawyer.
What do you love most about being a lawyer?
At the end of the day, I really like seeing a problem set straight. I love seeing a person who was struggling come out of it and have financial security for themselves and their families moving forward. I see a lot of really hurt, struggling people. I encourage them to keep fighting and not to lose hope. It’s great at the end of the case to see they’ve made it through a difficult chapter of their lives, and when they leave my firm for the last time, I know they’re going to be ok.
What is your biggest achievement either professionally or personally?
I can think of many, but the one that really sticks out for me now is my first trial victory. You can learn lots about the law and practice, but there’s no substitute for putting on a case in court the very first time. I had a blast and, more importantly, my client won. That’s a great moment.
What is your favorite or least favorite memory from law school?
Law school is quite stressful and there’s an almost impossible volume of reading. It’s also a high-pressure, competitive atmosphere, which really prepares the student for the actual practice of law. It wasn’t a very enjoyable stretch of time with the academic pressures, but it was necessary. I did well and here I am!
What advice do you have for people seeking a career in law?
Make sure it’s what you really want to do. Just because law looks fun on TV doesn’t means you should be a lawyer. It’s actually nothing like what you see on TV. Talk to some lawyers you know in real life and learn what the profession is really like. Just make sure you know it’s what you really intend to do when you start off on that path, because you’re going to invest a lot of time, labor and money into becoming a licensed attorney. It’s not an easy process, so it’s important to know it’s what you want to do.