DTCI: Young Lawyer Spotlight: Evan M. Norris

April 4, 2018
norris-evan-dtci-mug Norris

Firm/Company: Lewis and Wilkins LLP

Practice Areas: Civil litigation — transportation/construction matters, premises liability, insurance defense, general business law

Year(s) of Practice: 1

What do you like best about your job? There is never a dull moment! Our firm’s caseload is diverse and encompasses a wide array of lawsuits, each with its own set of facts and applicable case law/defenses. Every day is unique and exciting. As a young attorney, I look forward to coming into the office and being challenged on a daily basis. Also, I have been very fortunate to work for a firm that has allowed me to garner an immense amount of practical experience this early in my career. My more experienced colleagues have been great about “teaching me the ropes” and assisting me throughout every step of the process.

What has been the best moment so far in your legal career? Definitely my first contested summary judgment victory. It was the first time that I was afforded the opportunity to carry out the process from start to finish, including oral arguments. The judge ruled from the bench in my clients’ favor. Being a defendant in a lawsuit is unenviable. I enjoy the challenge of getting my clients out of a lawsuit on a contested dispositive motion.  

Why are you a member of DTCI? Professional organizations, like DTCI, help to effect change in public policy. Through DTCI, it is my goal to help further necessary and crucial changes to public policy at the local, state, and federal levels. I also believe that DTCI offers great networking opportunities. I enjoy getting out and meeting with other professionals who have the same passion that I do for the defense bar. It is great to share experiences and gather insight from those who are veterans in the profession.

Unforeseen hurdles of your first year(s) as a lawyer? I can’t believe I honestly did not see this coming — managing my time! I do not think that any course or book could prepare you for the transition from law school to real-world practice. I have two little girls (both under 3) at home, so I have to make it work. I am getting better at finding balance, but it is taking (and, I assume it will continue to take) a lot of trial and error to find the right fit. Until then, I will just continue to live by my Outlook Calendar!

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be and why? I would probably want to be a physician. Growing up, I was enamored by the amount of work and commitment my dad put toward his own practice. He instilled in me both a passion for medicine and the need to take pride in your work as a professional. I also enjoy helping others. Before attending law school, I worked at a not-for-profit that served underprivileged and mentally handicapped youth in southwest Indiana. It was an eye-opening experience and taught me so much about the different walks of life that people learn to cope with on a daily basis. These two experiences would likely have led me to a life in medicine. Through our practice, I am able to assist my clients in guiding them through difficult legal situations, fulfilling my desire to assist others. It is truly a gratifying experience when I get to help those in need.

What you wish you knew then …: I wish I would have taken additional, outside courses in public speaking to further develop my oral advocacy skills during law school. You can really tell in a courtroom or deposition who has spent considerable time and effort developing their craft! Being comfortable with speaking in front of large crowds (or a trial court judge) is something that takes practice, practice, practice. I cannot wait to continue to develop my public speaking skills as my career rolls on.

Fun fact about you: I really enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures. I have been to more than 15 countries so far and do not plan on stopping anytime soon. Being fortunate enough to travel and see different parts of the world is a blessing that should be taken full advantage of when given the opportunity. Even when I played college football, I was able to see different parts of the United States that I may have never gotten to see otherwise. Let me tell you — there are few places more awe-inspiring than the rolling plains of North and South Dakota near the tail-end of November!•



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