ClaimKare

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If You Build It: Cordell Parvin

Cordell Parvin used to be a big-time rainmaker in the construction legal world.  He now coaches lawyers who want to become rainmakers themselves.  I’ve worked with Cordell, he’s great.  The interview below was a lot of fun to do, I hope you like it.  And check out his blog for more good insights.   Chris:  Cordell, thanks for agreeing to do this interview.  I’m interested in doing almost a retrospective on your legal career up to your current legal coaching business.  You were a successful construction attorney with a big book of business.  But before you were a rainmaker, you started as an associate.  Was there one moment in your legal career when you decided to start developing business?  Or did it just happen? Cordell:  Yes, there was a moment. I had been on active duty in the USAF and litigated government contract cases. When I got out in 1976 and started practice in Roanoke, Virginia, I litigated cases for clients of two corporate lawyers. Some of the clients I liked and a couple I did not like at all. I also knew I would never have control of my destiny if I did not have my own clients. In 1978, I decided to focus on construction law and build my own practice, while continuing to litigate cases for the firm’s clients. Chris:  You and I are similar in that we both focused on construction legal niches.  I focused on green building law; you focused on transportation construction law.  What benefits did you see when you started focusing on the transportation construction niche? Cordell:  First, our country was in the midst of building the interstate system. So, I knew there would be work over the next 20 plus years. Second, at Virginia Tech I met and became friends with guys whose families owned the largest highway contractor in Virginia and the largest highway contractor in West Virginia. Third, and the clincher was when I was asked to speak at the 1981 ABA Annual Meeting. I remember being on a conference call and the moderator asked each of us for our topic. When I said highway construction, he said: “Cordell, no one (lawyers) cares about highway construction.”  That sealed it for me. I knew I could become the best known in that niche. Chris:  Tell me about your first legal client.  How did you land them? Cordell:  I believe my first client […]

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