Learning to juggle lawyering and life is a tremendous challenge, but it isn’t an impossible task

Advice For The Next Generation Of Attorneys, & Reflections On His Life In The Legal Profession From Brett Gilmore

Attorney Brett Gilmore is an associate in our Business Litigation practice group where he provides high-powered representation in matters including business disputes, restrictive covenants, legal malpractice, employment cases, intellectual property, construction defects, and appeals.

We recently had the pleasure of talking with Brett in regard to his advice for young legal minds, as well as his current life in the law.

You’re one of our up-and-coming young litigators, in fact, a very high-profile attorney said this about you: “I have never seen a young legal mind as brilliant as Brett’s and the unique skills he displays in litigation day in and day out are creative, of extremely high quality and always value inducing.  He comes up with defenses in ways that 30 or 40 year lawyers do not and never will.” High praise – talk about your process of bringing creativity to your practice. 

Leverage is king in litigation, and there is no better way to cultivate leverage than through creative thinking. I do what it takes to know the case better than my opponent, and I’m constantly identifying creative ways to advance our clients’ positions. 

Sometimes this means challenging conventional wisdom and strategies, but it can also mean embracing those things in unique ways—especially in ways that are not immediately apparent to the other side.

Without naming your clients, are there any intriguing current matters that you’re working on in the business litigation sector?

[It’s difficult to be more specific than the following without running afoul of ethical rules.] 

My practice generally covers a number of interesting areas, including employment disputes, business and contract litigation, and appellate matters, and high-stakes litigation keeps my passion burning. Presently, I’m litigating some high-profile cases involving public policy issues that already have had a broad impact on Arizonans. 

What would you tell your younger self – or a 1L at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law now contemplating a career in the legal profession?

The practice of law is demanding and can be all-encompassing at times; lawyers (especially litigators) work hard for every dollar they earn. Learning to juggle lawyering and life is a tremendous challenge, but it isn’t an impossible task. The same is true of law school—good grades don’t come easy, and it can be difficult to harmonize the competing demands of school and life. But if you grit your teeth, hang in there, and do your absolute best, you will always shine your brightest, especially when times are at their hardest.

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

This is a tough question. My success is in no small part owing to so many people’s kindness, encouragement, and mentoring, and it would be impossible to name all of them. Many of these people know who they are, and I hope they know my deep gratitude for their impact on my life and career.

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

Without sharing specifics, my biggest failure stems from believing in doubts and insecurities more than believing in myself. I learned to embrace challenges as opportunities to grow and realize untapped potential.

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

The worst career advice I’ve ever received isn’t worth repeating, so instead I will share two of the best pieces of career advice I’ve ever received.

The first is advice I received from a good friend and even better lawyer during my first semester of law school. During an interview with an international law firm early in his career, an attorney in a large corner office told my friend he was not good enough because of where he went for law school. My friend took a position at a small law firm but did not stop there; he ended up occupying the exact same corner office as the attorney who rejected him and served as the local managing partner for the firm. My friend’s advice: “Don’t let others define you, because they will if you let them.”

The second is advice I received is from a close friend and trusted colleague who is a fountain of good advice. She constantly reminds me that practicing law is a marathon, not a sprint, and integrity, responsiveness, and dedication are three fundamental traits of a good lawyer.

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

I just watched the final episode of The Last Kingdom (sogood!) and am looking forward to the follow-up movie. I enjoy The Daily podcast and listen to it when I can. As for music, I’m not picky and usually listen to Hits 1 on satellite radio.  

Okay, last but not least, you’re hosting a lavish dinner party at your home. Name the three people – from any time in human history – who you’d invite.

Dwight Eisenhower. I’ve always admired his courage and willingness to take accountability, the latter of which was most apparent in the “in case of failure” letter he wrote before the Allied invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944.

Madeleine Albright. There are many lessons one can learn from the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, and I would relish the chance have dinner with her.

Amelia Earhart. I inherited a love of aviation from my grandfather, who was an aircraft mechanic in the Navy during World War II, and I admire Amelia Earhart’s courage and adventurous spirit. Also, “What happened to you, Amelia?” seems like a good ice‑breaker for a high-powered dinner.

Many thanks to Brett for his inspiring insights – and to all of our associate leaders who continue to make a profound impact on our firm, and on our clients’ businesses.

Are you in need of experienced, forward-thinking advocates who go beyond the expected for clients in dispute prevention and resolution? If so, please visit: https://www.fennemorelaw.com/services/practices/business-litigation/ .

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