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Reflections: Barry Richard

Throughout your lifetime, I believe it’s important to pause, reflect, and sincerely thank the people who have made a difference in your career. The relationships that I’ve made during my professional journey have served as a chain reaction to each venture and, ultimately, where I am today. Barry Richard was a big, badass link in that chain.

I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside this nationally recognized, elite lawyer. Unlike many superstar lawyers, Barry is approachable and down to earth. His quick wit and sense of humor are every bit as sharp as his legal acumen. Barry’s impressive credentials and wealth of experience make him one of the most well-known attorneys in the United States, for good reason.

The high-stakes litigation skills I learned while working with Barry Richard for more than six years enabled me to start my own firm, and I am honored to highlight the profound impact he’s had on my career and our industry.

Inspired by his father who worked in a sole-practitioner law office, Barry wanted to be a lawyer since he was young. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and went on to receive his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. After running for Attorney General for the State of Florida, he joined Roberts, Baggett, LaFace, which would eventually merge into Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Barry has always concentrated his practice in the fields of complex commercial litigation, constitutional law, appellate law, and government and election law. Barry has defended big name companies such as Ernst & Young LLP and Anheuser-Busch, and has argued and won four separate cases as lead counsel before the United States Supreme Court.

Most notably, in 2000 Barry was hired to represent George W. Bush as lead counsel in the Florida recount litigation. That representation literally determined the next president of the United States. For a few month’s time, Barry was on the cover of every major newspaper worldwide, managing and appearing as lead counsel in about 47 cases throughout the state of Florida. The fact that Barry, a Democrat, was chosen for this role as lead counsel for a Republican presidential hopeful speaks volumes about his reputation and depth of skill.

Barry has a long list of professional accolades, including national recognition by the highest lawyer rating organizations and publications for his work. He earned the National Law Journal’s Lawyer of the Year designation in 2001, and its designation in 2006 as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” He was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honor bestowed upon just 1% of the lawyers in the United States and Canada, and he was one of 500 inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Throughout his career, he has also advised and represented all three branches of government, during both Democratic and Republican regimes, and he has served as litigation counsel to The Florida Bar. In short, he’s a big deal!

I had the pleasure of working directly with Barry as my supervising attorney during my six+ years at Greenberg Traurig. Throughout my experience, he was an inspiring mentor, colleague, and friend. There is an important balance in a mentor-mentee relationship where you must equally teach and empower an individual in order to instill in them the knowledge and confidence they need to succeed on their own. Barry put a great deal of trust in me by letting me run my own cases with no micromanagement, and I’m so grateful for the hands-on experience that leveraged my career. Barry was always available to provide thoughtful advice and litigation strategies.

One of the biggest lessons that I learned from him was how to avoid overcomplicating issues during litigation. He had a great deal of experience in simplifying complex issues, and he was not afraid to concede an issue when the time was right. It can be hard to do this, especially when you’re personally invested in a situation, but he was an expert at keeping things professional and commanding respect without ever asking for it. Every issue in litigation with Barry is considered an academic challenge, rather than a personal ego contest.

To this day, I still consider Barry to be one of my greatest mentors. Recently, I received his high praise on a large settlement we won and his recognition meant the world to me.

No matter what season of life you’re in, if you’re lucky enough to have a mentor to guide you, I hope you find the time to thank them too. Throughout your career, your course will have ups and downs, and the skills you learn to handle those challenges are largely dependent upon the people you happen to keep in your company at any given time. I was lucky enough to work under Barry – and several other lawyers – who have empowered me throughout my career. I hope that your career gives you the same opportunities to meet impactful mentors who leave their mark on you.