Michael C. McLaughlin
5 Fast Facts:
ON THE WEEKENDS you can find me enjoying the outdoors with my wife and our dog. We also love going out to movies and restaurants here in the Tampa Bay area.
MY ADVICE TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS is to try and get into a position where you can try cases as soon as possible. Being in a courtroom is an invaluable part of your education.
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM would have to be the Tampa Bay Bucs. Of course, having received both my degrees from FSU, I keep up with the ‘Noles as well!
SOMETHING YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT ME is that I’m a terrible basketball player—there, I said it.
MY MOST EXHILARATING EXPERIENCE would probably be the time I went river surfing in New Zealand. I was studying abroad in Australia at the time, and gave this a try—they had me in a wetsuit, wearing fins, all atop a Boogie Board. It’s a great way to shoot rapids with an absolutely beautiful backdrop.
What or who inspired you to become a lawyer?
MCM: Definitely my father was an influence. He is a great attorney and I have the privilege of working alongside him today. Otherwise, I think the appeal of being a trial lawyer and actually trying cases in court hooked me early on in law school. Both then and now, it’s the interaction with other people—opposing attorneys, the judge, my clients—that truly gives me job satisfaction. That I’m able to help people who might not have the knowledge or means to help themselves in a legal situation is truly my inspiration.
Can you tell us some of the day-to-day challenges you face at your firm?
MCM: The biggest challenge I constantly face is the preconceived notion many people have about attorneys in general. I believe their views are mainly shaped by the larger firms who conduct highly visible, mass advertising—and it’s unfortunate, because many of these individuals need help and they end up going with a name they see on a billboard rather than asking a friend or family member. It’s frustrating to think that reputation and capabilities pertinent to their case are rarely considered.
Would you have any specific advice to other attorneys looking to build a highly successful practice as you have done?
MCM: I couldn’t really recommend much of a process or a “how to” guide, but I think the best advice would be to create and maintain the right mindset. Today’s legal landscape of mass advertisers has made it necessary to put a stake in the ground and stick to your beliefs and your standards. Most importantly, you need to not try to be everything to everyone—it’s important to stay focused on what you do best, and always do it to the best of your abilities.
In this era of information sharing, how has the Injury Board been of value to your firm?
MCM: Of course, it’s been terrific when it comes to reaching out to other attorneys who might have insight or expertise on a certain topic as well as a great resource for getting quality referrals across the country, but mainly I think IB has both helped me and benefitted our firm in that it has introduced us to a number of like-minded people we might never have met that share the same outlook on our chosen profession. I’ve personally become friends with IB member Michael Bogdanow, and I’m always surprised at the similarities between our two firms and the kind of work we do—considering that we are in different cities, at opposite ends of the east coast and each serving our respective community.