Ben Norris 0000-00-00 00:00:00
For almost a decade, the law firm of Curry, Pearson & Wooten has thrived on a simple philosophy: make a difference in the lives of each and every client. Founding attorneys Kristen Curry, Michael Pearson and Robert Wooten were mutual friends who went into the process of launching a firm casually, but soon realized their ideas of quality representation and advocacy lined up well. “We wanted to practice in very select areas of the law and provide high quality service to a limited number of clients,” Pearson recalls. “Rob and Kristen have significant criminal experience and I focus on the civil side.” After a few lunch meetings, the trio made it official and decided to launch the firm, bringing their own brand of service to the Valley’s legal landscape. The clients turning to the firm are often going through life-altering experiences, such as an arrest or divorce and the three attorneys at the helm of the practice say building a relationship with clients is essential. The firm focuses on criminal law, family law, personal injury and aviation accidents - high stakes areas that require courtroom experience and the ability to help clients get through the anxiety involved with litigation. The Criminal Team Curry and Wooten head up the firm’s criminal law practice, bringing extensive litigation and trial experience. Curry is certified as a Criminal Law Specialist through the State Bar of Arizona and has been teaching other attorneys how to challenge illegal searches in criminal cases since 1998. “I started out in the public defender’s office from 1995 until 1998,” Curry said. “After leaving the public defender, I went into private practice doing criminal defense and stuck with it because I enjoy the trial aspect. As an actress growing up, it just seemed like a natural progression to end up in the courtroom as a lawyer.” Wooten was working for another firm when he began taking criminal law cases. His firm was near the courthouse, but didn’t have a criminal law practice, so he launched one. “I wanted to explore that area and develop my own practice and revenue stream,” Wooten said. “It really blossomed from there.” By the time Wooten decided to join forces with Curry and Pearson, he had successfully represented clients in several high profile criminal cases. Together, Curry and Wooten help their clients deal with the severity of a criminal allegation and use their courtroom experience to launch the best defense possible. That requires limiting the number of clients to ensure every case gets the attention it deserves. It’s a business model that conflicts with many of the large firms, which are willing to take on every case that comes through the door, even though most clients are passed on to inexperienced associates. The Civil Litigators Michael Pearson leads the firm’s civil litigation practice, focusing on complex legal issues surrounding aviation. He’s been a trial lawyer for 17 years. He’s also an aviation law professor at ASU and has authored a college textbook, Aviation Law, published by a major academic and legal publisher. His interest in the aviation realm goes back a long way; Pearson worked as an air traffic controller for nearly three decades in various options and at busy airports. He later became a quality assurance specialist, investigating accidents, for the Federal Aviation Administration. That aviation background makes Pearson a sought after attorney when clients are experiencing litigation involving a plane or helicopter crash. He handles aviation accident cases world-wide. “These cases can be very traumatic and in most of them, someone has lost a family member,” Pearson said. “My clients are going through a lot of emotional stress and when you help these folks work through an issue with a successful resolution it’s very rewarding. They put a tremendous amount of trust in you. We take a limited number of clients in order to provide outstanding service. Many of our aviation accident cases are referred to us by other attorneys due to our background. Of course, we appreciate this and split fees in compliance with Arizona Ethical Rule 1.5.” Curry, Pearson & Wooten also added two associates to their civil litigation practice. Kelly Peralta, with the firm since 2008, adds family law to the firm’s growing areas of practice and it doesn’t hurt that she has a degree in psychology since family law issues can be highly emotional for the parties. Peralta’s main areas include divorce, custody, support and modifications. She was in solo practice before deciding to join the firm. Kyle Sherman is the newest addition to the firm’s civil litigation practice and Curry describes him as doing a little bit of everything. Kyle has experience in a variety of civil litigation areas such as personal injury, defamation, construction defect, insurance defense, contract disputes and family law. While in school he also participated and excelled in moot court including winning an inter-scholastic competition and placing within the top three oral arguers in a national competition. While attending law school, Sherman was an insurance claims adjustor. A Different Kind of Client Experience “When people come to our firm it’s not because they have a great situation going on,” Pearson said. “They come to us because there is a catastrophe, whether it’s an accident, a divorce, or someone being charged with a crime. They need someone to give them direction and a path forward.” For the attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten nothing is more important than being available. That means clients have their lawyer’s office phone numbers, personal cell numbers and emails. Often, clients view their attorney as the only path to hope during a life changing event. It’s a responsibility they don’t take lightly. “I think clients that come to our firm find the atmosphere to be very welcoming,” Wooten said. “We spend an important amount of time speaking with them. We are very interested in who our clients are and how we can work toward solving their problems. I think too many lawyers think in terms of law verses solving problems.” That problem solving approach has helped establish Curry Pearson & Wooten as a premium criminal defense and civil litigation firm in the Valley. Individual Strengths Build a Stronger Firm “One nice thing about having folks with backgrounds in different areas of the law is all of us have significant trial experience,” Pearson said. “Yet you never know every answer. With a small group of lawyers who have substantial experience I can always walk into somebody’s office to bounce ideas off them.” It’s that kind of open exchange of ideas that helps the attorneys come up with creative solutions to clients’ problems and stay sharp during complex litigation. Wooten said the team has built a full-service law firm and with the addition of two experienced associates, they can handle an ever-growing array of client needs, from criminal matters to family law problems to civil disputes. “We spend a lot of time on the phone just chatting with people who call,” Curry said. “Many people are so surprised to talk to an attorney without being charged a fee. They just want to feel like someone cares. They may not need an attorney right then but they remember us when they need an attorney in the future.”
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