A New Year With Two New Directors

A “He Said,” “She Said” Reflection On This Career Milestone With Jennifer Clyde and Brian Heiserman

Fennemore proudly kicks-off 2022 with an eye toward the future as the firm’s shareholders recently elected two new directors: Jennifer Clyde and Brian Heiserman. Both attorneys work out of Fennemore’s Phoenix office.

Congratulations to you both on being named Fennemore’s newest directors! What does this career milestone mean for each of you?

JC:  Being elected Director at Fennemore is an honor.  It feels like a new chapter in my life, and to me, it really means that other Fennemore Directors value me and recognize that I can effectively represent clients in significant litigation matters.

BH: The election to director is an honor and a great opportunity to take a broader view of my practice and career goals. As legal associates we are often very focused on the task directly in front of us. Reaching a major career milestone like directorship provides a moment to identify new accomplishments you hope to achieve in the future.

You’re both business litigators – and without naming clients, talk about some of the case matters you’re currently working on. Also, do you predict any litigation trends for 2022 as COVID-19 variations continue to impact trials?

JC:  I currently represent a company headquartered in Arizona and operating in several western states in several cases. These cases involve generally defending the company from various claims of negligence. 

I also currently represent a general contractor in an arbitration against its former subcontractor where the subcontractor failed to perform as the contract required, which resulted in my client properly exercising its right to terminate and seek damages. 

Given COVID-19 and its impacts on labor, materials, and the supply chain, I predict that we will see an increase this year in the number of contract disputes, like the arbitration that I’m handling, as contracting parties continue to face increased costs and delays impacting their contractual performances.

BH: For the past few years I have been focusing my practice on water rights litigation. We are currently in the process of adjudicating water rights for tribal reservations in Northern Arizona, which involves quantifying the water necessary for those reservations now and in the future.

I think the key word for civil litigation throughout the pandemic has been flexibility. In 2020 and 2021 it was common for depositions, hearings, mediations, and trials to be postponed, sometimes at the last minute, due to a wave of COVID-19. It looks like the trend of unexpected scheduling changes may continue for at least the first portion of 2022.

Any New Year’s resolutions for 2022?

JC:  Put my personal short-term goals down in writing so that I can hold myself accountable to checking them off the list.

BH: I do quite a bit of reading in my professional life, which often leaves too little time for reading things unrelated to law. My New Year’s resolution for 2022 is to try to catch up on books and articles I have been meaning to read just for fun.

What would you tell your younger self – or a 1L at UCLA law school for Brian, and ASU for Jennifer, now contemplating a career in the legal profession?

JC:  Law school and early years of practice as an attorney will be tough for you at some point (maybe many points) along the way, but you can do it.  Stick with it and don’t give up.

BH: Go for it, you’re going to be a director at a great law firm.

Who is your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

JC:  My husband Eric has had the greatest impact on my life and career.  The night that we met, I told him I was thinking about going to law school.  He has been beside me, supporting me on the entire journey.  I would not be here today without him.  My favorite Marvel hero is, of course, Thor.

BH: There is a long list to choose from, but the greatest impact both personally and professionally has to be my wife, Amy. We met in law school and are both lawyers, so she has always been a great sounding board for professional decisions.

Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn? And how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

JC:  My biggest failure recently occurred during the pandemic after my beloved dog passed—I rushed into getting a puppy.  I knew that it was horrible timing to take on that new responsibility, but I thought I could do it all and make it work.  Turns out that trying to fit that adorable ball of energy into my schedule wasn’t working or going to work.  The first thing I had to do was recognize that, as much as I wanted him, it was best for me, my family, and this puppy to make a change and rehome him.  I found him a great home.  I learned not to stretch myself too thin, and it was a good reminder to be realistic in evaluating capacity and risks.  

BH: I don’t have an example of grand failure, but I constantly experience small failures on a daily basis. I think an important lesson to learn as early as possible is that recognizing and analyzing your failures is more productive than trying to be perfect.

I actually do have an example of a grand failure. A few days ago I backed my car into my wife’s car. She was a very enthusiastic sounding board for that decision.

What’s the best – and worst – piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

JC:  It is hard to say what really is the best and the worst.  The best advice that comes to mind is to simply do good work and keep doing good work.  I think the worst advice occurs when people provide suggestions assuming that that person shares the same goals and strengths as them and without appreciating that there is no one-size fits all and that people have different strengths on which to capitalize.  I’ve heard advice over time that I didn’t see as making sense for me personally, but perhaps that same advice works or helps others.    

BH: The best advice I have received is to have thick skin and short toes (so they can’t get stepped on easily).

The worst: a philosophy professor in undergrad finished the semester by telling the class “don’t become lawyers.” I’ve enjoyed practicing law, so I’m glad I didn’t take the advice.

During our ongoing pandemic – the NEXT normal, what are you listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

JC:  I regularly listen to Spotify’s ready-made playlists so that I get to hear new music that I would otherwise probably would not have taken the time to find myself.   I just finished watching Season 4 of Cobra Kai, which is a must if you like the Karate Kid in the 80s.  I’ve also been getting into an app called Calm, which has a variety of calming things to listen to, particularly at night.  I recommend checking out the available “sleep stories” for bedtime.  

BH: I listen to the Marketplace podcast and a sports podcast hosted by Bill Simmons. We are also watching Ted Lasso – very slowly because I don’t want it to end.

Okay, you and your family are hosting a lavish dinner party. Name the three people – from any time in human history – who you would invite.

JC:  Kathy Hilton, Queen Elizabeth I, and Taylor Swift.  Taylor needs no explanation; I’m a huge fan.  Queen Elizabeth I was, from what I’ve read, a badass queen.  Kathy is hilarious and fabulous at lavish dinner parties from what I’ve seen on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  In lieu of a lavish dinner party, however, I would prefer that we all go to Kathy’s house and lunch with her on her TV trays.

BH: Ira Glass, Leonardo da Vinci, and Charles Barkley.

Congratulations again, to Brian and Jennifer on your new roles with the firm – and here’s to continued success!

For more information on our Business Litigation team – that goes beyond the expected for clients in dispute prevention and resolution, please visit: https://www.fennemorelaw.com/services/practices/business-litigation/