Though the jump Brian Yoakum made at the beginning of August from The Biller Law Firm to Evans Petree PC was only a floor away, he saw a greater opportunity to broaden his practice areas and expand the services he could offer clients.
It was also a move from a two-attorney firm to one of nearly 50.
“This is my first time experiencing a large firm, but I think it’s going to be good for me and for my clients,” said Yoakum, whose expertise is in commercial and business litigation with a diverse clientele. “I’m looking forward to taking the clients that I currently have and expanding what I’m doing for them, but then also to be able to go out and use the platform of the larger firm to attract new clients.”
In addition to litigation, Yoakum also has developed over the last couple of years the narrower field of premises liability defense, representing primarily retail and restaurant owners in defense of people who claim to be injured on their property.
Yoakum was born and raised in Memphis, and he completed all of his education in his hometown. He attended Memphis University School before going to Rhodes College, where he studied political science and international studies.
“I had opportunities at all phases of life to leave Memphis, but I love Memphis,” he said. “This is my home. I love its people, so I decided to stay.”
While a student, Yoakum worked as a runner for both Black, Bobango & Morgan (now Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee PC) and Apperson Crump PLC, and those experiences clinched his determination to become an attorney.
After graduating and before entering law school, Yoakum worked as business manager for the Sammons Group LLC, and Jack Sammons, who had been appointed by Chancery Court as special master and receiver. Yoakum graduated from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2005.
It was his work with Sammons that helped Yoakum realize his interest in commercial litigation, and he never wavered from that while in law school.
“I enjoy taking my clients that are in difficult situations in their business, that are very personal issues to them, and boiling it down, getting to the root of the problem and addressing the problems efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.”
“I enjoy taking my clients that are in difficult situations in their business, that are very personal issues to them, and boiling it down, getting to the root of the problem and addressing the problems efficiently and in a cost-effective manner,” Yoakum said.
During law school, Yoakum worked as a summer associate for Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston PC. As a newly minted lawyer, he saw work as an associate for Pietrangelo Cook PLC and Luckett Pinstein Ridder PC before partnering with Stephen Biller.
Yoakum has seized the opportunity to work with these firms around town, amassing a wealth of experience and knowledge that has shown him the toll litigation takes on his clients and given him the skills to better serve them.
“I always tell my clients that litigation is costly, not only monetarily but emotionally, so I try to find creative solutions to the problems that they’re facing and resolve them so they can move on with their lives and with their business,” he said. “That’s my favorite part.”
With Evans Petree, Yoakum hopes to further expand his knowledge base and lean on the large office of fellow attorneys when necessary.
“We’ve a good group of young, mid-30s attorneys that really, in my mind, is a strong group and we’re going to hopefully take this firm and continue on the traditions and build it even further,” said Yoakum, who is a member of the American, Tennessee and Memphis Bar (Young Lawyers Division) Associations.
Yoakum and his wife, Lauren, a medical equipment sales representative, have a 6-month-old son, Harrison. When not in the office, Yoakum enjoys hunting and fishing with friends and family at nearby Horseshoe Lake.
As a native and proud Memphian, Yoakum enjoys the opportunity to give back to his community. He and Lauren both serve on the board – and he is on the executive committee – of Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services.
“The two of us, we truly believe in the mission and believe it’s really the only way to resolve a serious problem that the city faces with animal overpopulation,” he said.