I do my best to look for the opportunities to learn and grow through challenges

An Interview With Attorney Shane Parker On Lessons Learned & Life In The Law

Shane Parker is an associate attorney who works out of our Phoenix office in the firm’s Business & Finance practice group. His work focuses on transactional work, providing comprehensive counsel to corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals in matters including drafting and negotiating a wide range of transactional documents for the sales of products, services, assets, and membership interests.

We recently had the pleasure of talking with Shane about his dynamic life in the legal profession.

In this week’s leadership profile we head to the Valley of the Sun to talk with attorney Shane Parker in our Phoenix, AZ office! You’re a gifted storyteller – how would you describe your life in the law? And pitch us the movie if you were the super-lawyer in a must-see legal drama.

My goal in attending law school was always to gain expertise that would allow me to be an advisor and counselor. I initially imagined I would don that role with athletes or entertainers as an agent, but after entering law school I soon found a great interest in advising entrepreneurs, companies, and real estate developers. Some of the things I enjoy most about my practice are that many of our clients don’t come from a legal background. I enjoy covering their “blind spots”, explaining legal concepts to them, describing the practical impacts of different options, and advising them on liability while also helping them achieve the vision spurred by the growth mindset that many transactional clients possess.

I don’t know if I can pitch a full-length motion picture based on my practice! You’d have to add some twists, turns, and drama that aren’t present in my day-to-day. Maybe the script would have to be (very) loosely based on a true story.

What would you tell your younger self, or a 1L at the Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law currently contemplating a career in the legal profession?

I would give an encouraging word. The practice of law is entirely different from, and much more enjoyable than, law school itself. Helping clients, developing practical legal skills, and growing your own practice is much more rewarding than law school experiences.

Without naming your clients, are there any intriguing current matters that you’re working on in your Business & Finance & Real Estate practice?

As real estate development continues throughout Arizona, I’ve enjoyed working on both sides of land sales transactions. On the sale side I’ve enjoyed meeting families here in Arizona and helping these clients sell land to developers for what must be life-changing sums for their entire family. On the purchase side I’ve greatly enjoyed working through the diligence process with our developer clients to ensure they can complete their project as envisioned. Both sides of these transactions have been fulfilling for different reasons.

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

My grandfather. His talent and ingenuity in crafting custom furniture placed him in high demand and allowed him to travel much of the country. I always admired him for his talent and work ethic. Yet, he still emphasized the value of helping out the less fortunate and those in need. While sitting with him on the porch at his home in Oklahoma it was not uncommon to see members of his community approaching to ask for help. I also learned from his example – on holidays we would often open the local event center to feed and serve those in the community. Further, he was and still is present in the lives of his children and grandchildren, present at any number of events and significant milestones in each of their lives.

His example teaches me the heights to which talent and hard work can take an individual, the importance of reaching out to help those less fortunate, and the proper priority of investing in family.

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

I don’t know that I’ve had any life events that I would consider major failures. And with those challenges we all face in life, whether self-inflicted through poor decisions or whether completely outside of our control, I do my best to look for the opportunities to learn and grow through challenges.

What has helped me move forward amidst challenges is my upbringing. My parents greatly emphasized personal agency, a certain degree of stoicism, and the value of getting comfortable being uncomfortable. That mix has always helped me to: (1) focus on actions I can take to improve a given situation instead of simply focusing on the circumstances and (2) take on new challenges as opportunities to grow and build resiliency.

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

When I was in my second year of practice I worked in three practice areas: business & finance, real estate, and civil litigation. A mentor told me that to truly excel as an attorney I needed to specialize. That timely advice led me to Fennemore where I focus on transactional work.

I haven’t received any career advice that I truly consider bad advice. At the most, there were some mentors throughout college and law school that offered advice that did not fit my own vision for my career. It can be a difficult balance to strike in determining which advice to heed as a young student without much experience. But I have been blessed with many great mentors throughout law school and here at my time at Fennemore to counsel me with great advice to help me achieve my future goals.

What are you currently listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

Listening – Any of Apple Music’s curated playlists. The 90’s R&B playlist is a favorite.

Reading –  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Watching – I’m not one to watch much TV or to rewatch shows, but I am currently rewatching Succession on HBO.

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

Jesus, Jackie Robinson, and Bill Burr.

Many thanks to Shane for his profound insights!

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