VOL. 128 | NO. 96 | Thursday, May 16, 2013
Memphis Law Talk
Medlock Takes Talents From Soccer Field to Courtroom
By RICHARD J. ALLEY
After graduating from Germantown High School, Steven Medlock left Memphis for the bluegrass of Western Kentucky University.
With a full-ride scholarship for soccer, his goal became to play in the big leagues. After graduating college in 2006, he played midfield center for the semi-pro New Orleans Shell Shockers. Though it was an exciting time, Medlock said, it was a long eight months spent living in a hotel room on Canal Street when not on the road.
“I made the decision after that one season to hang up the cleats, I didn’t really have a future in that,” he said. “It was awesome and I had a fantastic time, but I couldn’t survive on $250 a week for life.”
Medlock used his time in New Orleans to study for the GRE and entered the graduate program at the University of Memphis for a master’s degree in political communication and rhetoric. During that time, he kept his foot on the pitch by coaching soccer at Germantown High School and Memphis University School, and in a club league in Collierville.
His intention was to go on and earn a doctorate, but he found he wasn’t interested in a life of academia. The legal profession, in contrast, would be “promises of golden riches,” he laughs now. He was always interested in the law and looked up to friends and mentors, Nick Tansey and assistant district attorney Chris Lareau. He met both through a local men’s soccer league.
“When I was thinking about going to law school, I asked them to go to lunch and talk to me about it and they sold me on what they were doing,” Medlock said. “Both of them are very involved in giving back to society, and they found a legal career is one way they can do that and also make a living.”
Medlock found law school intimidating at first.
“I knew from the first day there were a lot more intelligent people there, I admit that, but at the same time I was excited about the challenge of it,” he said.
“I knew from the first day (at law school) there were a lot more intelligent people ... but I was excited about the challenge of it.”
– Steven Medlock
But he found it helpful to have a group of friends who were in the same boat, a team to fall back on when times were stressful and the school days tough.
“Now, looking back, that’s what made it, I wouldn’t say a fun process, but a bearable process,” Medlock said.
After his first year in law school, he was dead set on completing the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General programs. He got deep into the interview process, down from 1,700 applicants to the last 200 before getting cut. By the time Medlock graduated in May 2012, he wasn’t interested in joining a large firm, but he found there weren’t many jobs available.
He went to work for the Cohn Law Firm, learning how to run a business, before opening his own shop in Cordova just off Germantown Parkway. Medlock and paralegal Jennifer Billiard share an office with real estate attorney Doug Beaty. They aren’t partners, but are separate entities sharing resources, and Medlock knows the elder Beaty is there should he have questions.
Medlock practices general law, with referrals coming from word of mouth and from his website, and taking on whatever cases come through the door in an effort to learn more and gain the experience he’ll need to grow his office.
In a recent day Downtown, he found himself in Criminal Court, Civil Court and Juvenile Court. He’s ended up with a lot of family law cases and enjoys assisting those who might not be able to afford the larger, more established firms, helping them if he can and sending them elsewhere if he can’t.
“At my age, you take everything you can get in the door,” Medlock said. “You explain on the front end that, ‘I’ll tell you right now I don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to work towards it, and if I don’t know something then I’ll ask another attorney.’”
Medlock has run the field for his clients and seeks to gain even more knowledge as his experience widens and his practice evolves. He left his dreams of soccer for successes as an attorney and he hasn’t looked back since.
“Everybody has dreams of being a Matlock or Perry Mason in the courtroom, and come up with all these interesting arguments in jury trials, but the vast majority aren’t in those positions,” he said. “It’s a lot of motions and not nearly as glamorous, but you get a little bit excited just going into the courtroom and addressing the judge and solving somebody’s problem.”