Clerking at Rice Law: by Blair Beaty

As it turns out, I have more in common with both my bosses than just our devastating good looks and unmistakable charm (just kidding, folks)- We have all grown up around the law. Mr. George Lawrence Rice II, Larry’s father, built a very successful practice that Larry was involved in from a very early age. Nick, of course, was surrounded by the teachings of both his father and grandfather. Larry and Nick now operate as partners in their own firm. My own father, Douglas Beaty, a real estate attorney, gave me my first look into the world of law.

Growing up with an attorney as a father has its perks. When your 8, your dad can come to “Bring Your Parent to School Day” and talk about “putting the bad guys away.” When your 17, your dad can bail you out of jail for something that “probably wasn’t your fault” because “they made you do it.” When your 23, your dad can suggest some wonderful attorney’s who are dying to write you a glowing recommendation for law school. And when your 25, your dad might even be able to get you a spectacular clerkship with a well-known and respectable firm.

By the way, thanks Dad!

But all joking aside, being exposed for most of your life to the actual practice of law gives you the advantage of knowing the real ins and outs of the system. The arguments that win cases are not found in the classroom or casebooks but are created in the minds of the attorneys. Law school will teach you the correct terms and statutes to bolster your arguments but the process of building a case and working with the facts can only be truly mastered through actual experience.

You learn that how to talk to clients. For instance, having often seen my father interact with clients growing up, I know that you don’t call them up and say, “Hey, someone is in constructive possession of your title and therefore we must oust them before the statute of limitations runs.” Instead, you say, “Hey, someone is staying at your beach house without your permission. Let’s kick them off before it’s too late to file suit.”

You learn that the practice of law doesn’t always have to be done in formal settings. In fact, the office can be an extremely fun place to go. (Thanks, Mr. Rice!) Deals can be made over cocktails and settlements accomplished over lunch. As Mr. Rice says, “The goal of law is to have FUN!”

You learn that there are some practical issues that law professors tend to just skip over. For instance, Mr. Rice told me about an experience he had with his first year torts professor. The professor was going through the elements of a successful torts claim: duty, breach, and damages. “Excuse me, professor”, Mr. Rice said, “but I believe coverage would be a necessary element or else how will the attorney recover the damages?” Mr. Rice, after watching his father try several insurance cases, knew that without coverage to pay for the damages, an attorney would be dead in the water.

Growing up with an attorney as a father has been wonderful (and obviously educational) and has led me to where I am today. I feel so lucky to have followed in his footsteps and even luckier that I now have two more exceptional attorney’s whom I can watch and learn from.

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