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Saturday, Jul 20, 2024

‘I Love the Mental Chess Aspect’

Khail Parris Firm: Parris Law Firm, Lancaster Khail Parris has practiced personal injury and employment law for five years. He is the son of firm founder and Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris. Best part of the job: I love the mental chess aspect of it. There are so many moving pieces in any given case that fighting to get command of the board is always entertaining. How law is changing: Everything from discovery to trial presentation seems to be getting faster. With the courts moving to an e-filing system we are able to bring issues to the court at a much quicker pace and also receive opposing issues earlier. This requires our reflexes to be a lot sharper and faster in responding to and creating issues. Similarly, living in the age of immediate gratification, jurors expect you as the trial attorney to present the issues within their shortened attention spans while also making the issues easy to understand. As a result, trials that used to take weeks are now required to be condensed into days.  In order to meet the jurors’ expectations, we spend a great deal of time on the front end preparing each trial to include only the information that is absolutely vital, removing any extraneous information that may bore them. We also use engaging demonstratives and precise presentations to deliver the message to jurors.  Memorable experience: The first time I took a verdict with my dad. I was so nervous because it was a huge case that we litigated for four years and took us nearly five weeks to try. As the clerk is reading the verdict to us, I am writing in the various types of damages. My hands were shaking and I could barely keep up with her. So I looked to my dad who was sitting next to me thinking he had a better handle on things to see if he had the total damages figured out. But when I looked, he was so nervous that it paralyzed him and he did not record any part of the verdict. So I grabbed his arm and asked him to do the math on the damages to see how much it was total. After a couple of seconds he looked at me and said, “I don’t know, I am too nervous so I can’t count that high.”  It was then that I realized that even the best attorneys still get nervous. Source of power for a “power attorney”: The support group that they develop around them. I am only good at a couple of things, but my team strives to be perfect at everything. I think we either hit that mark or come very close. Personality traits of a power lawyer: The two things I rely on the most in being a lawyer are my curiosity and hunger. In being curious, I am always looking for new ways to litigate cases. That means sourcing as much information as possible from top neurolinguistics scientists, persuasion experts and other top attorneys. It’s also important to always be hungry. I do not give up as soon as a seemingly insurmountable barrier crosses my path. One legal rule/practice that needs changing: The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or MICRA.  It is an extremely unjust law that among other things arbitrarily limits the recovery of victims of medical negligence. In California, our laws recognize that things like pain and suffering or the loss of a loved one have significant value that should not be arbitrarily capped. But with MICRA, the value of those priceless things that we treasure like a pain-free day or spending time with a loved one gets capped at $250,000 just because a medical professional caused the harm. Impact of working for father: I love it. I get to try cases with my best friend, who also happens to be my dad. There are not a lot of people in this world that are fortunate enough to say that. Advice to prospective lawyers: It is the best profession if you love it. It is the worst profession if you hate it or even just dislike it. It requires long hours and a lot of dedication to become a decent attorney. So if you are considering joining this profession, go see lawyers at work in a law firm, not just lawyers in a courtroom. See what the profession actually entails before deciding because it can either be the most rewarding decision or the most painful decision. 

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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