Author Archives: Brett Knight

About Brett Knight

I grew up in the southern part of Illinois. I made Tennessee my home in 2001. I earned my undergraduate degree at MTSU before becoming part of Belmont University’s charter law school class. After Law School I joined the District Attorney General's office as an Assistant District Attorney. I later went into private practice with the law office of Fry, Fry, Knight, & Murphy, where I remain today. Prior to law school I worked in the Information Technology (IT) field for over 15 years. Along the way I acquired many technical certifications and served on some very prestigious boards and committees, I even helped to write more than a dozen exams for technical certifications such as A+, Net+, Security+. Outside of law school and work, I spend time with my family, raise Japanese maple trees, and enjoy as much time in the outdoors and travelling as I can.

Law School by the numbers

numbersI notice a trend among 3L’s…we have become mathematicians.  Well maybe not full-fledged mathematicians, but we are sure doing a lot of counting these days…most of which is counting down.  I know I am as guilty of this as anyone…in just a few hours I will be down to 3 days of showing up for classes.  Notice I didn’t say 3 days left…so maybe some of that “thinking like a lawyer” has sunk in over the last 3 years because I am counting in a light most favorable to my position.  This counting down has got me thinking about some things…so here goes my law school experience by the numbers. (Please excuse my math if a few of these are rounded off, after all if I could do real math I would have gone to medical school…right?)

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Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends

GuysI could not help but think of those eternal lines sang by the Beatles this week… I get by with a little help from my friends.  I have talked quite a lot in this blog about gaining experience while in law school.  Perhaps the most important ingredient in gaining experience that will prepare,and propel, you for and into the legal career that you want is who you are spending your time with.  I guess my mother was correct, that you are often judged by who you hang out with, because in my opinion who you are spending your time with while gaining legal experience (whether that is in an internship, externship, or volunteering your time) is the game changer.  So how does a law student choose who to spend their time with?  Good question, for me it comes down to three factors:  Who can help you learn, Who will help you learn, Who will invest in you as a person? Continue reading

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In the third year you will be RAN to death

When I started law school I was given a lot of advice about what to expect.  There were some particular phrases that were told to me over and over again…I am sure we have all heard them, for example ““A” students make great law professors, “B” students make great judges, “C” students make great money”  or “The best grades will be made by the most quiet students”, but the one I heard the most and have taken most to heart was that “ in your first year you will be scared to death, in the second year you will be worked to death, and in the third year you will be bored to death”.  Now I won’t disagree that the first year was pretty scary (well really the first semester), and that the second year was an enormous amount of work, but I would have to say that this phrase needs updating when it comes to the description of the third year.  I cannot think of a single example of a law student, who is serious about their career after law school that is bored in their third year…not in this day and age.  Perhaps there was a time when the third year was spent wasting time in anticipation of the bar exam and the awaiting job at the firm, but that is not the reality for law students today (or at least the vast majority of us). Continue reading

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Time for papers to be turned in!

OK every Law Student knows that it is the end of the semester and class papers are due…but let’s not forget the other papers that are being turned in at this time of year.  Don’t panic I’m not talking about an assignment; I’m talking about the papers being turned in all over Tennessee by candidates for office.  2014 is an important year for the elected portion of the legal system, and many offices that affect our future lives as at lawyers are going to be up for election.  Over the past few weeks candidates for these offices have begun turning in their paperwork to be on the ballet. 

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The company you keep

Sometimes as a law student I wonder if I am on the right track, if I am meeting the people I need to be meeting, and going to the events that will help guide me down the right path.  Almost as an answer to this question was an article in the TBA’s Fall 2013 Issue of Tennessee Young Lawyer (TYL) written by Philip Hatch about the accomplishments of Rachel Moses.  You see these two lawyers from Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland have been mentors and role models to me since my first semester of law school.  I wrote about them in previous posts. ( Networking My Way Through Law School – Part 1(of 3) and Networking my way through Law School – Part 2 (of 3) )  As I read this article I was struck with just how lucky I have been over the last few years to have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many talented people who have been willing to take the time to talk with me and help guide me in the right direction.

You can read the article about Rachel at http://www.tba.org/news/news-r/cookeville-attorney-rachel-moses-sets-bar-for-service

-Brett Knight

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Surfs up for change

surfing-in-suitI have recently been thinking about change, I guess that is only natural for a person in my position.  You would after all expect a 40 something year old man who has recently jumped tracks from one career field to another to be pondering such things.  But it is not my change in careers that I have been thinking on specifically.  I have been trying to identify the secret to dealing with change from the perspective of a business.  It is pretty easy to see that businesses and industries have to learn to deal with change just like people do, so what can a business do to deal with change more effectively? 

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The value of a JD

I recently read an article discussing how the Chicago based Willens Law Office,  offered an “Anything But Law School Graduate Scholarship“. ( http://tinyurl.com/l5wvb3t ) This begs the question… Is this a good strategy to protect the legal industry from overcrowding?  Or is this a prime example of a firm stuck in its way of thinking and failing to have the vision to see where the legal field is going?

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It’s lonely at the top

It seems to be a unifying feeling among law students at this phase of our path.  My fellow bloggers have expressed it well, as have my classmates as we talk before classes, to sum it up…It’s about to get real. Continue reading

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Whats on my mind?

grad time

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by | October 30, 2013 · 6:18 am

Breathe, Breathe Again, and Play Nice

play nice   We rise and fall in our profession largely based upon our reputation.  This concept is instilled in us from the time we walk into law school (or hopefully before) and will be repeated throughout our careers.  So if that is the truth, why are so many lawyers downright mean?

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