20 Questions with Jason Venditti

  1. What made you want to become an attorney?
    • I've always been very competitive. I'm a huge sports junkie. But I am also a performer. I played drums in rock bands since I was a teenager and majored in music in college. Performing comes naturally to me and being a trial lawyer is the perfect fit. I no longer play in rock bands, so the courtroom is now my stage. Some people don't like the courtroom. I live for it. Believe it or not, there are several similarities between being a musician and a trial lawyer. Both require tremendous discipline, focus, and the ability to perform well under pressure. Preparation is critical to success. Whether it's on stage or in a courtroom, you only get one shot. There are no do-overs.
  2. What is a trial attorney? Aren't all litigators trial attorneys?
    • No! Just like not all doctors are surgeons. Trial attorneys, in my opinion, are like specialists. We are unique. We are storytellers. We have a way of taking complex subject matter and conveying it to the court or the jury in a way that's not only persuasive, but simple and easy to understand. We are confident, we are comfortable in the spotlight, and we are passionate about our cases. Trying cases effectively is a skill that not everyone has. It requires tremendous strategy, thought and preparation, as well as the ability to relate well to people. Being personable and humble, and having a sense of humor and life experience are all extremely important. If you have a case that could go to trial, you can't afford to hire just any litigator. Not all litigators are effective trial lawyers. In fact, some litigators have no intention of ever going to trial and just use the litigation process as a means to obtain a settlement. So when they get there, they have no idea what they are doing and can't finish the job. That's where we are different. We excel at trial. We've been there before and have been successful for our clients every single time.
  3. What do you do to get ready for trial?
    • Prepare, prepare, prepare.  I make every effort to out-work, out-think and out-perform my opponents. Its essential for a trial lawyer to anticipate every possible situation or argument that may arise, and be prepared to deal with it favorably for your client. 
  4. Do you have any favorite legal movies?
    • A Civil Action and A Few Good Men. They both provide a fairly accurate glimpse into the life of a trial lawyer.
  5. What makes you a good attorney?
    • I work tirelessly to ensure my clients are satisfied at the conclusion of our representation. Having a satisfied client is extremely important to me, whether it's a victory at trial, a favorable settlement, the reasonableness of my fees, or just the overall quality of the representation and rapport we've built along the way. My firm has thrived for years almost exclusively on repeat business and referrals, and that just doesn't happen without satisfied clients.
  6. What makes you different than others?
    • I practice law the right way. I do what's in the best interest of my client. PERIOD. END OF STORY. I'm not out for a client's money. I don't take unreasonable positions that aren't supported by the facts or law, and I don't just tell clients whatever they want to hear. There are plenty of other lawyers out there who will gladly take your money and do just that, and the results usually speak for themselves. I shoot my clients straight. If I can't achieve their desired result, I tell them. I don't sell them a bill of goods. Clients pay me to get them what they want, not tell them what they want to hear.
  7. Have you ever turned down a client?
    • Yes. Typically, those who I think are taking unreasonable positions. Or those whose first question to me is, “How aggressive are you?” My response to those clients is always the same: I'd rather be effective than aggressive. Not every case calls for aggressive representation; there is a time and place for it, and the good lawyers know the difference. Besides, most people can't afford aggressive, and simply being aggressive for the sake of being aggressive, or because it's your “style,” is ineffective and just wastes the client's money.
  8. What would be your best advice to a potential client?
    • Choose wisely. The right lawyer makes all the difference. Attorneys are expensive and most people don't have money to waste. Don't judge a lawyer's competence by the size of their firm, the view from their conference room, or their hourly rate. Many smaller firm attorneys, like myself, worked for big firms once upon a time.
  9. When hiring a lawyer, what qualities should a client look for?
    • Someone who is knowledgeable and experienced, but also someone you can really trust to do what's in your best interest, not just what's best for their bottom line. Someone who will fight for you, but who will also be honest with you and give you sound legal advice, even if it's not what you want to hear.
  10. What advice would you give aspiring lawyers?
    • Don't ever compromise your credibility. A lawyer's credibility is his biggest asset. Never lie for a client and never sell a client on a case that can't be won. Don't make frivolous arguments and always be willing to concede those arguments you can't win. And, most importantly, don't be a jerk. The best lawyers are also the nicest people; it never fails. Whenever I encounter a jerk on the other side, they almost always prove to be incompetent as well.
  11. What drives or motivates you to do what you do?
    • Satisfied clients. The dozens of thank-you notes or bottles of wine I've received over the years from clients who appreciate our good advice and tireless effort on their behalf.
  12. What is the best advice you ever received?
    • “Be a father first and lawyer second.” My son was born the same year I passed the bar, and I have always faithfully followed that advice. I even have the words “Father First” tattooed on my arm. My firm was founded, in part, because I refused to miss out on watching my son grow up. I'm proud of the fact that I've been able to attend every parent teacher conference and important event in his life.
  13. What was the worst advice you ever received?
    • A well-known Phoenix attorney was giving a seminar on trial tactics, and he said, “Don't bother thanking the jury. It's a waste of time.” I was shocked. To me, that's ridiculous. People like to be appreciated; it's human nature. I will always thank the jury, repeatedly, because the job they do is invaluable and I truly appreciate their service. I think I heard somewhere that this particular attorney has lost as many trials as he's won. Perhaps that's why.
  14. Who do you respect and why?
    • I respect everyone, until they give me a reason not to. Most of all, I respect those who practice law the right way – with integrity and professionalism. I was once involved in a case where an attorney filed a motion with the court, only to learn after the fact that everything he alleged in the motion was untrue. He immediately withdrew the motion and abandoned all of the untrue arguments. I was really impressed by that.
  15. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the legal community today?
    • I would say a growing lack of professionalism, competence and integrity. The legal profession to me is really in a sad state. The lack of quality attorneys is substantial. I've watched many people walk out of the courtroom broke and unhappy because their lawyer gave them bad advice or refused to acknowledge the weaknesses in their case.
  16. If you could do anything else you wanted besides practice law, what would it be?
    • A rock star or race car driver.
  17. Do you miss playing the drums?
    • I do. But I taught my son to play when he was 5 years old and he has become such an incredible drummer.  So now I just enjoy listening to him and watching him perform. It's a dream come true to be able to share my passion for music with my son.
  18. How do you think your clients would describe you?
    • Passionate. Dedicated. Effective. One of my clients called me a “closet pit bull” following a week-long jury trial that resulted in a unanimous verdict in our favor. I'm pretty laid back and easy going most times, so I think clients are somewhat surprised when they see my fire and passion in the courtroom.
  19. What are you most passionate about?
    • Winning. But winning means different things to different people. You need to know the client's objective at the outset. Winning may mean obtaining a favorable settlement to a client who cannot afford trial.
  20. What is the best compliment you ever received?
    • A referral from a satisfied client.