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VOL. 121 | NO. 224 | Thursday, November 16, 2006

Owings Jumps Directly From Law School to Trotz Firm

By Amy O. Williams

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()
"It is important for me to do the best for my clients because I care about their plight. I want my clients to feel that I have zealously advocated on their behalf."
- Laura Owings
Name: Laura Owings
Position: Associate
Company: Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz PLC
Basics: Owings, 26, says she decided to join a personal injury firm because she feels like she's helping people who need an advocate.

Laura Owings has been with the law firm of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz PLC at 488 South Mendenhall Road for only about a month, and she already knows she is in the right place.

A 2006 graduate of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Owings graduated sixth in her class of 123 students. She chose to go to a plaintiff's firm and concentrate in the area of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Owings and her husband have a 9-month-old daughter named Shea, who was born during Owings' last semester of law school. Owings, 26, grew up in Memphis. She graduated from Evangelical Christian School in 1998 and from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 2002 with a degree in history.

During law school, Owings received numerous awards, including the William B. Leffler Scholarship, Dean's Distinguished Service Award and Dean's Award for Best Appellate Brief in Legal Method.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be an attorney?

A: I was working as a technical writer at International Paper, and my mother urged me to apply for law school. I took the LSAT and explored the possibility of becoming a lawyer. I thought I would really enjoy a career practicing law, so I began law school. Once I was there, I knew I had made a wise career choice. While in law school, I was able to serve as a notes and comments editor on the Memphis Law Review, and I graduated in the top 5 percent of my class. I think practicing law suits my personality and strengths very well.

Q: Are you originally from Memphis? Where did you go to college and law school?

A: Yes, I have lived in Memphis since I was 7 years old. I attended Baylor University for my undergraduate degree, and I received my J.D. with high honors from the University of Memphis' Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.

Q: Why did you choose to concentrate in nursing home abuse and neglect?

A: I took an elder law class while in law school, and I became aware of many of the problems plaguing the elderly in nursing homes. I wanted to practice law in an area where I felt like I was genuinely helping people who had been injured. I also enjoy researching and writing, and I am able to use these skills to advocate on behalf of elderly clients through the discovery process and briefs.

Q: Why did you choose to work at a plaintiff's firm?

A: I guess it is unusual for someone with my class rank to do that. I feel like I am really helping people, and that's something I wanted to do when I practice law. I am representing people who have been injured, neglected and abused, and really need someone to advocate for their rights.

Q: Who or what has inspired you?

A: My father, Mike Shea, has inspired me because of his character, honesty, integrity and genuine concern for others. He currently travels regularly to Afghanistan with the Memphis-Afghan Summit to train leaders in the Afghan government. Not only is he a man of deep character, but it was important to him to instill character and good moral values in me.

Q: What do you do when you're not working?

A: I spend time with my husband and daughter. I am also an avid college football fan, and I enjoy rooting for my husband's alma mater, the University of Southern California.

Q: What are some of your goals?

A: It is important for me to do the best for my clients because I care about their plight. I want my clients to feel that I have zealously advocated on their behalf. I also want to be well-respected in the legal community for my skills as an attorney and for my character.

Q: What do you like best about being an attorney?

A: I enjoy interacting with clients and understanding their issues. I am glad to have the opportunity to work on complex cases and figure out how to handle them. The mentoring program and collegiality with the other 15 attorneys at my firm has assisted my learning process as a young attorney.

Q: Do you plan to continue practicing in this area in the future?

A: I think this is an area that's growing. As baby boomers get older and more of them are moving into assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, I really think this practice area is going to continue to grow.

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