Adams and Reese Partner Brian Faughnan, of the firm's Memphis office, was interviewed in a Q&A for an "In the Spotlight" feature in the December 4th edition of the Memphis Business Journal.
Faughnan serves as Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono committee and also Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and West Tennessee Governor on the TBA's Board of Governors.
His practice focuses in the areas of lawyer ethics and professional responsibility, complex commercial litigation, appellate litigation and media law. He is a frequent author and speaker on ethics and professional responsibility issues, and has written “Barely Legal,” a quarterly humor column for the online magazine Tennessee Young Lawyer.
Below is the complete article.
Friday, December 4, 2009Brian S. Faughnan
In The Spotlight
Partner, Adams and Reese LLP
BY ALAN HOWELL / MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL
Faughnan serves as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and West Tennessee Governor on the TBA’s Board of Governors. His practice focuses in the areas of lawyer ethics and professional responsibility, complex commercial litigation, appellate litigation and media law. He is a frequent author and speaker on ethics and professional responsibility issues, and has written “Barely Legal,” a quarterly humor column for the online magazine Tennessee Young Lawyer.
Hometown: I was born in Indiana, Pa., but have lived in Memphis since 5th grade and think of it as my hometown.
Education: B.A., Rhodes College; J.D., cum laude, University of Memphis
First job: I bagged groceries at the Kroger around the corner from my house when I was 16.
Family: My wife, Lane, and two children, Sophie, 8, and Whitaker, 5
Like best about job: Every client has a story to tell, a story that is very important to them. I love that I get to use my communication skills and knowledge of the law to tell their story for them in a way that is more persuasive than they could do on their own.
Like least about job: The billable hour system and recording time. Unfortunately, it discourages attorneys from striving for efficiency and it encourages clients to want their attorneys to save money by cutting corners.
Pet peeve: Sloppy writing really does irk me to no end.
Most important lesson learned: Lawyers are fantastic when it comes to handling other people’s problems, but very bad at dealing with their own.
Person most interested in meeting: Colin Meloy, lead singer of The Decemberists. My wife would tell you I have a bit of a man-crush on him.
Most respected competitor: Lucian Pera. I know he’s my partner and this answer may seem like cheating, but one of the reasons I’ve been successful is that we compete with each other and push each other every day.
Career goals: If someone asks the question, ‘Who’s the best lawyer in the room?’, I want to be a serious candidate regardless of the room.
First choice for a new career: Writing novels, short stories and essays
Most influential book: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
Favorite cause: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My wife is a research nurse in the anesthesiology department.
Favorite movie: “Memento”
Favorite restaurant: It varies, but if we are taking our children, I’d have to say Huey’s or Memphis Pizza Cafe.
Favorite vacation spot: St. George Island, Fla.
Favorite way to spend free time: Reading
Favorite stress reducers: Believe it or not, Guitar Hero on the Wii. It is one of the few ways I can turn off the rest of my brain and focus only on those little colored notes scrolling down the screen.
Favorite musicians: I’m constantly searching for new music so, at any time you catch me, I will have a new favorite flavor of the month, but The Decemberists, Wilco and Elliott Smith are on my desert island list.
Automobile: Honda Civic Hybrid
What do you know?
Do attorneys face an unfair level of professional scrutiny by the public?
I wouldn’t say an unfair level. Attorneys play a crucial role in society. Because the public has to be able to trust us, we have to be held to the highest standard. A large part of my practice involves defending attorneys accused of wrongdoing, so I understand how difficult it is for attorneys to be in the spotlight, especially when what’s being said is inaccurate. What I do think is unfair is that all too often, our entire profession gets trashed when any one attorney is in the spotlight for wrongdoing. Public scrutiny comes with the territory, but some of the finest people I’ve ever known are attorneys, and they deserve to be judged as individuals and not demeaned because of the actions of others.