How Florida Attorney Eric Lanigan Began Practicing Law
I’ve had many people who have watched various videos we’ve done and read some of our blog posts who when they’ve come in had commented that while all of the videos are educational and helpful, they really don’t know anything about who is the person behind the voice and it’s been suggested that maybe I talk a little about who I am and how I got to be standing here today.
And a brief history I’ve always lived in Florida. I moved to Winter Park with my family when I was 12 years old in 1963. And other than going away to college and law school, I’ve lived here in Winter Park my whole life.
I went to Winter Park High School, I then went to Florida State University graduated from Florida State in 1973 and then went to Stetson Law School in St. Petersburg. Graduated from Stetson in 1976. Came back, decided I wanted to practice in Winter Park.
When you’re in college and you go away you visit friends and when you do that see what towns where other people live, I remember thinking to myself, Winter Park’s a pretty nice place. So I decided that I was going to come back here and live.
I came back here after law school, by that time I was married and my son Roddy—who now practices with me—was a one year old baby.
And we moved back to Winter Park. I got a job with a law firm here in town very young, aggressive lawyers in personal injury.
I worked there for three years which was a tremendous opportunity to get in front of the judges be in court; be taking depositions, getting to understand how litigation worked with some very good mentors who helped me along the way.
Lanigan and Lanigan Opens in Winter Park Florida
After about three years of that though I had decided that I was not going to spend my legal career doing personal injury work. And I decided that I wanted to branch out and do other things. And by this time my daughter had just been born and I decided to leave and open up my own office.
Many of my friends in my age group thought I was crazy to do that at that point and I told them that well they were right, I was crazy but I went ahead and did it anyway.
And as I was telling a young lawyer the other day, it seems like a big leap of faith, but once you do it and you never look back and I’ve never regretted taking that step. Because cases started coming in the door, business came in, I was able to branch out to other areas of the law. But I had an excellent foundation in how lawsuits work, litigation works, and how to be an effective litigator.
And being on my own all of those years since I was 29 or 30 so I’ve been on my own basically for 33 years and it’s tremendous learning on my own. Because while it’s time consuming you have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to do things because you don’t have someone to go to and just tell you. Ok, yes, this is how you do this and this is how you do that. You have to go learn it.
And what I’ve learned over the years is that in learning how to do one thing in that research to get to that point how many other things you go through to get to that process so it’s very helpful to me in developing a thorough understanding of the law and how things work.
And let’s face it. You never understand how hard a wall is until you ram your head into it. And like any young lawyer you’ve got to bang your head into the wall a few times, get some lumps to understand how to get things done and not spend the rest of your life banging your head into the wall. And that’s been very helpful to me over the years.
Over the years my practice has evolved. When I first went out on my own I used to say when people would say well, what’s your specialty. Well first of all when you’re 30 you don’t have a specialty. But I used to say my specialty was “entry law” and people would always look at me quizzically like what does that mean?
And I’d say well if it comes through the entry way I do it. But as you age up and you progress you start to focus in on various areas of the law. You start to know what you like, you start to know what you don’t like and you don’t want to do anymore.
I’ve always enjoyed the litigation end of it. I’ve enjoyed moving into different areas of litigation. I always found it challenging not to be dealing in the same subject matter over and over again.
Over the years practice evolves, sometimes it’s where you direct yourself and other times it’s just where you end up.