Francisco Ramos Jr.
Based in Miami, Florida, USA
Hi Frank, can you describe Clarke Silverglate?
We are a boutique litigation law firm in Miami with 9 lawyers and one paralegal.
What work do you perform in your organisation?
I am the Managing Partner of the firm and handle a wide variety of litigation matters.
What is your educational background?
I attended Florida International University, where I earned my B.A. in 1993 Summa Cum Laude and attended University of Miami Law School where I earned my J.D. in 1997 Magna Cum Laude
When did you qualify?
I was admitted to the Florida Bar in September 1997.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The opportunity to tackle difficult cases, and develop a case strategy to define a win with the client and achieve that win.
Describe your typical day? Wake up and bedtime times?
I’m generally in the office by 7:30 a.m and spend the day handling various litigation matters, addressing firm management issues and working with colleagues in various voluntary bar association matters.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Finding the time to balance work, firm management, business development and home life.
What is the most memorable case you have worked on?
My most memorable cases are ones where we’ve had the privilege to represent our clients at trial and present our case to a factfinder.
What is the most embarrassing thing to have happened to you as a lawyer?
As a young lawyer, I was still developing my skill set and I made my share of mistakes along the way. I could have been more effective arguing motions and taking depositions. My client relation skills needed improvement. Today, I write regularly for young lawyers so they can learn from my experience.
What would your clients say about you?
They would say I am creative, imaginative, hard working and that I get them results.
And what would your competitors say about you?
My competitors say I’m dogged. Once I sink my teeth into a case, I don’t let go until I reach a favourable resolution for my client.
What have you found to be the greatest myth about being a lawyer?
It’s not like television. You’re not always at trial. You spend a lot of time in the office and at court reporters’ offices taking depositions.
What advice would you give to your pre-law school self? Why is that?
I would tell myself to spend more time learning the “soft” skills, like public speaking, networking and business development.
Do you have any tips for handling difficult clients?
Take the time to understand where they’re coming from, what their motivations are and what their goals are. The better you understand your clients, the better you can serve them.
What’s the longest day you’ve ever done?
I’ve had trial days which have started with prep sessions at 6 am and didn’t conclude until after 11 p.m.
What case do you find most memorable in your jurisdiction? Why do you think that is?
Cases that pursue new causes of action, whether suing talc manufacturers and suppliers for personal injuries or suing opioid manufacturers and distributors for alleged damages.
Do you have any advice for lawyers just starting out?
Take the time to learn the craft and seek out mentors who will teach it to you.
Do you do any volunteering/pro bono work etc?
I spend a lot of time mentoring young lawyers through my writing and through “coffee chats” where I mentor them over a cup of coffee.
What has been your worst day in the job?
Days where you have multiple deadlines can be very demanding.
What has been your best?
Whenever you secure a favourable outcome for your client is rewarding.
What do you consider to be the secret to your success?
Hard work, perseverance and learning from my failures and mistakes.
Have you always wanted to be a lawyer?
Since I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer. Like many my age, I watched lawyer serials on television and was drawn to the excitement of the courtroom.
What would you say is the best tool you have at your disposal?
My colleagues with whom I discuss my ideas, theories and themes for my cases.
Which key skills are most essential for your success as a lawyer?
Imagination and creativity.
Which experiences have been most significant in forming you as a lawyer?
Having mentors at the firm investing in me as a lawyer.
Who is the lawyer you most admire and why?
Spencer Silverglate, our firm’s President, who has spent countless hours mentoring and developing me as a trial lawyer.
What makes a brilliant lawyer?
Being able to tell one’s client’s story in a compelling persuasive manner.
What’s the most amusing anecdote you have about the law?
Every lawyer, sooner or later, will make an assumption about his/her case which is incorrect which can lead to some interesting depositions.
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
Having a loving family. I have been married 24 years and we have two boys, David, 20, and Michael, 17.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Continuing with our successful law practice and continuing publishing legal and business books. So far, I have written 7.
What is your morning routine?
Get up early. Get to work early. Use the time before the business day starts to set goals for the day and pursue them.
What is your bedtime routine?
Get to bed early and read the news.
What do you do to keep healthy? What are your habits regarding exercise and nutrition?
I walk my dog regularly and avoid fatty and fried foods.
If you weren’t a lawyer what would you be?
A writer. I love having an idea and letting the idea grow and flourish and share it with others through the written word.
What do you believe that nobody else believes?
We all have a purpose and we can’t truly be happy until we figure out our purpose and pursue it.
Is there a quote which defines you?
Leaders are servants.
Which law would you change and why?
I would spend more time speaking to others about pursuing their purpose.
Which book have you found most influential?
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R Covey, and Start with Why, by Simon Sinek.
Who do you admire most and why?
Those who pursue their life’s purpose wholeheartedly.
What 3 things would you take with you on a desert island?
The Bible, a water purifier and a Swiss Army knife.
How do you think practising law has changed you as a person?
It helps me define problems and find solutions for them.
If money was no object, how would you spend your time? And would you still be a lawyer?
I would write, both non-fiction and fiction. I would love to write legal science fiction, where a fictional law firm addresses legal issues in the future. The intersection between law and technology is something I am fascinated by.
What is the step/change you are most glad you’ve taken in life?
Spending more time writing. I’ve been focusing on non-fiction and hope to start writing fiction in the not too distant future.
What is the most beautiful/inspiring thing you’ve ever seen?
Folks taking the time out of their busy schedules to volunteer to help those most in need.
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘lawyer’?
What does a lawyer represent to you as a concept?
Some who lends his/her voice to the voiceless.
How do you balance home and family life with your job?
I carve out time to spend time with my family and invite them on work related travels.
Thank you very much for your time, Frank.
To find out more about Francisco and his work at Clarke Silverglate, visit the Clarke Silverglate website.