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VOL. 125 | NO. 230 | Friday, November 26, 2010




Rice Honored as a ‘Rising Star’ for Innovative Work

SUSAN AGEE | Special to The Daily News

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Lawyers recognized as “rising stars” have generally been practicing for 10 years or less, but Nick Rice’s experience goes back further than that.

Photo: Lance Murphey

Rice is the third generation in his family to practice law, and he started his training at the age of 12, learning to research under his father’s tutelage.

“It started off with me getting to come in to work with my dad on the weekends,” Rice said. “He started teaching me how to do research, how to look up cases and how to look up statutes in the law library that they had in the firm at the time. When I got good enough, they started paying me. I’d get to do the research as the fun part, but my main task was all of the gofer work.”

Even with the family influence and years of on the job training behind him, Rice didn’t automatically decide on a career in law. He had an interest in psychology as well, and received a bachelor’s degree in the subject from the University of Tennessee.

When it came to making a decision about which career path to take, Rice did what any good lawyer would do – research. He took internships in both fields and came away with the conclusion that for him, the practice of law provided more satisfaction.

“I liked that the law gave more finality to the problems,” he said. “Both fields address problems, but in psychology, a lot of the problems weren’t getting solved. That’s not to say that there aren’t psychologists who move and resolve problems, but in the law, you know your problems will be solved. They may not be solved to your liking, but you do get finality and resolution.”

Rice is a part of Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC, a law firm co-founded by his grandfather. His father, Larry Rice, is a partner in the firm and was also recognized this year by the Super Lawyers rating service that chose Nick Rice as an up-and-coming attorney.

Rice, Amundsen & Caperton specializes in resolutions to problems of a personal nature as the firm practice solely in divorces, otherwise known as family law. Given the sensitive nature of the matters he’s handling, Rice has identified problems in the process and devised solutions to them.

He came up with a system of converting communications he receives on the progress of each case into e-mails that are sent directly to himself and the client, and the firm hired someone to handle that task exclusively.

Rice also collects financial information at the very beginning of the process and creates a “marital balance sheet” so that the information is there when asked for as the case progresses.

“Anyone who comes to you for a divorce is experiencing one of the lowest points of their life,” he said. “Why put off collecting that information when you can move the case faster by collecting it now?”

He credits his paralegal Andrea Schultz with making the organization happen.

Besides law, Rice is carrying on another family tradition. His father is on the board of the International Children’s Heart Fund and now he has become involved by holding a fundraiser every year. What started as a Halloween party/fundraiser with friends a few years ago has evolved into a pool party for friends and their families.

Even with the confirmation of his success, Rice admits that he has pre-trial jitters from time to time. But the opportunity to identify a problem and come up with a solution is what gives Rice satisfaction in his career.

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