Christian & Small is pleased to announce that the Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) has named Jonathan M. Hooks one of its 2016 Rising Star Lawyers, which highlights up-and-coming lawyers in the Birmingham metro area. This is the second consecutive year that Hooks has been recognized by the BBJ for this honor.
Hooks was one of 30 honorees that, according to the BBJ, were chosen based on their contributions to their firms and their potential to shape the industry, and the Magic City’s legal world, moving forward. As part of his Rising Stars profile, Hooks provided answers to several questions posed by the BBJ, which can be found below:
BBJ: Why did you decide to be a lawyer?
Hooks: I believed I could persuasively argue in a way that was sensible and interesting.
BBJ: Did you have a fictional attorney who has been your inspiration?
Hooks: Credit to Ben Matlock. He was the first TV lawyer I watched with regularity, and Matlock showed me early on that being a lawyer is not all courtroom work, but includes a lot of time getting one’s nails dirty investigating every angle of a case.
BBJ: What’s your favorite legal TV show or movie?
Hooks: Tie: (1) My Cousin Vinny; and (2) the lesser known, but equally funny From the Hip. Both are comedy gold, and both actually involve some half-decent courtroom procedure.
BBJ: What’s the biggest misconception people have about lawyers from TV shows/movies?
Hooks: Probably that we try cases all the time. After all, why wouldn’t we? Surgeons operate, pilots fly, lawyers should try cases. But the modern American litigator might not try a case for months or even years.
BBJ: What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your legal career?
Hooks: Earning the trust of clients and colleagues. There are few things as important to the practice as developing a relationship where others feel secure relying upon your advice.
BBJ: What’s your philosophy on serving clients?
Hooks: Clients are relatively easy to please. Perform expected and assigned tasks in a timely manner, don’t waste their money, and be nice, and you will keep almost every client completely satisfied.
BBJ: What’s on top of your career bucket list?
Hooks: To appear on the BBJ’s Top 40 Under 40.
BBJ: What’s on top of your personal bucket list?
Hooks: A vacation to Italy.
BBJ: What three qualities are the most critical for a great career in the legal field?
Hooks: Endurance. A good sense of humor. Attention to details.
BBJ: What is the strangest request you’ve had from a client (this can be a blind anecdote, you don’t have to name names or give anything too specific?
Hooks: A client asked me to demand that his neighbor stop “peeping” in his windows at night. I wrote a letter per his request. The client later altered my letter by changing the address and sent the letter to a different person, without my knowledge.
BBJ: If you could change one part of the legal process, what would it be and why?
Hooks: I would reduce the number and complexity of the rules, procedures, and technicalities required simply to shepherd a lawsuit to trial. Those onerous requirements increase the cost of handling those suits, and reduce opportunities for lawyers to try cases.
BBJ: What is a book that has influenced your career and what was your big takeaway from it?
Hooks: Thomas Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions is a long read, mostly about social policy. But he makes the point that everything, even knowledge itself, is a scarce resource. Sometimes it helps to realize we’re all working off of less-than-perfect information.
BBJ: What’s the hot topic in your practice area?
Hooks: An increasing amount of my work concerns drugs and medical devices. One area getting attention is off-label marketing of such products. Initially, there was little precedent, but now cases are starting to give us something to chew on.
BBJ: What’s your favorite thing about being an attorney?
Hooks: This may sound trite, but being a lawyer can be great fun. It requires time and often exhausting work. But learning new cases, investigating, figuring out a winning strategy, and so on, is actually enjoyable. And there is nothing better than court.
BBJ: What’s your least favorite thing about being an attorney?
Hooks: Recording billable hours. It is an occupational hazard, and I honor the requirement with honesty, but it really is an arduous process.
BBJ: If you could make any change to improve metro Birmingham, what would it be?
Hooks: Incentivize businesses to start or relocate operations downtown, and to stay here. The metro area needs a thriving, safe downtown, and businesses need to know they will not be punished for operating in the city center.