Dan Baldwin 2013-01-16 04:11:15
Law Offices of William D. Black “My personal business philosophy is to treat people as I would want to be treated,” says William D. Black, sole practitioner with the Law Offices of William D. Black. Serving clients as a boutique firm gives his associates and him an edge in fulfilling the varied and often complex needs of those clients. “We try to cut through the legalese for them and explain legal issues and strategies in terms which are understandable and produce the best results.” Black says. The Law Offices of William D. Black was established in 1979 and has successfully served many thousands of clients since that time. The primary practice areas today are business litigation, business transactions, civil litigation, personal injury, medical malpractice, commercial real estate, licensing and administrative law and probate and trust litigation. “My practice to a large degree is based on trying to help people who are confronting stressful and oftentimes traumatic legal issues.” Black believes in the team approach in solving client challenges. He cites, for example, that a case involving a serious injury claim may require a strong lead attorney working closely with experienced investigators, accident reconstruction consultants, vocational experts, economists, and other forensic specialists who work together to assure that the client achieves the optimal result. He uses a poem, “The Old Violin” by Myra Brooks Welch, to illustrate the importance of striving to be a well-trained, experienced and dedicated attorney. The poem is about an old violin, which brings only the offer of a few dollars at auction. An old man who is a virtuoso plays the instrument beautifully and its value is dramatically enhanced. The difference in value is the difference in “the master’s hands” which plays the instrument. He has learned that much like that violin, the law in a master’s hands becomes a powerful and highly valuable instrument for good. “That poem represents the real mission of our firm. My greatest mission is to always feel that win or lose, I have represented my client in the most professional manner possible. I represent clients ranging from successful corporate executives to indigent disadvantaged minorities who have ended up incarcerated for one reason or another.” A Family Tradition Black is a fourth generation attorney. Regardless of this formidable legal background, he had planned on attending graduate school in history or art history after completing his undergraduate work at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. His career path changed, however, when he read “Gideon’s Trumpet” by Anthony Lewis, a book about the 1963 Gideon vs. Wainwright case in which the U. S. Supreme Court decided that indigent criminal defendants must be provided counsel at trial. “This book piqued my intellectual interest and must have activated my legal genes because the next thing I knew, I was headed to the University of Wisconsin Law School as a new enrollee.” Black began his career as a prosecutor in Milwaukee, WI and then served for a number of years as a felony public defender for people accused of very serious felonies. Several years later he decided to concentrate his efforts on helping people who were injured in automobile accidents, victims of other types of negligence, and also victims of medical malpractice. During this period he also became interested in business litigation and probate and trust litigation. “These were all practice areas in which I felt I could help people who were facing serious personal and financial crises in their lives,” Black says. Black was recognized by the Arizona State Bar and Arizona Attorney Magazine in 2012 as achieving one of the Top Ten Plaintiff ’s Verdict in 2011 for his work in a business litigation/ intellectual property case. His main office is currently in central Phoenix at Camelback and Central and he has a branch office in North Scottsdale, across the street from the Kierland Commons. Meeting the Challenge of New Technologies As with other professions, rapidly changing technology has had and is having a dramatic effect on the legal profession – case preparation and case filing, for example. Black says, “Filing and prosecuting law suits electronically without the necessity of always physically appearing in court is a new development for me.” Gaining knowledge about electronic discovery is also a whole new area which has become critical to becoming a good trial attorney. The implementation of Electronic Courts in Maricopa County, which will soon expand into other counties, requires that attorneys must become not only good legal practitioners, but also develop skills as “part techie and part audio-visual guru.” Internet marketing is another powerful change. In the past attorneys would to a large degree establish their reputations through community word of mouth and person-to-person networking. With the declining role of local newspapers, the increase of cable TV channels and the general depersonalization of society, Internet marketing becomes the new marketing vehicle. “It is not enough these days to strive to establish your professional name and reputation only through quality representation. Now the successful attorney, particularly in a small firm, needs to whole marketing approach has evolved so quickly during the past few years that unless you become versed in website construction, SEO techniques, social media, blogs and so on, all your efforts at practice building may be compromised.” Black also notes that trial focus groups and jury consultants are all playing larger parts in many successful trial ventures. “In order to keep pace and hopefully stay on the cutting edge, you have to work continuously to increase your professional knowledge, be totally flexible, and do what is necessary to always land on your feet.” Black says, “I have been fortunate enough in the last several years to develop strong and meaningful relationships with other attorneys who are specialists or subspecialists. Because I have a boutique practice, I can pick and choose those attorneys with whom I wish as co-counsel in the various areas of practice in which I work. I collaborate with other attorneys in a number of my cases and this brings a better result for the client and also allows me to enjoy working with top-notch colleagues.” As an executive council member of the business law section of the state bar, I also enjoy meeting top professionals through section participation. I am presently co-chairing an upcoming blueribbon seminar entitled “The Prosecution and Defense of A Business Litigation Case” at the annual bar convention to be held at the Arizona Biltmore.” The Personal Side Regardless of the time constraints on a practicing attorney, Black makes time for a personal life. He is particularly proud of his daughter, Stephanie, an IBM manager, and his son, Michael, a lead chef at one of the most popular restaurants in the Phoenix area, the Rokerji. Black’s hobbies and interests include snow skiing at Telluride “or anywhere in the Rockies” and jogging on the Art Mollen canal path near the Biltmore. He enjoys music and is a regular at the Musical Instrument Museum and the Phoenix Chamber Series. He also recently had a great time visiting Nashville and attending the Grand Ole Opry. He also enjoys improvisational comedy, regularly visiting Second City in Chicago, the Groundlings in Los Angeles and occasionally “Saturday Night Live” in New York.. Black is also working with Doc Jones, Kerry Campbell and some of Arizona’s premier jazz musicians to create a new jazz venue and project in the Phoenix area.
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