VOL. 10 | NO. 17 | Saturday, April 22, 2017
EMPHASIS: Law Week
NST Looks to Cultivate Young Litigators With Memphis Law Scholarship
By Michael Waddell
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz PLC, the largest plaintiff-based law firm in Tennessee, is looking to cultivate the next generation of litigators.
University of Memphis law student Zachary B. Johnson, center, with Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz PLC partners Alex Saharovich and Corey B. Trotz
The firm recently awarded its first law scholarship to Zachary B. Johnson, a third-year law student at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. The Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz Law Firm Scholarship will be awarded annually, providing assistance to help students with third-year law school tuition and the substantial costs associated with taking the bar exam.
“We felt that this would be a useful way to both give back to the legal community as well as cultivate a culture of individuals who are interested in pursuing litigation, particularly representing injured people,’’ said Alex Saharovich, a partner at NST.
For the past 25 years, NST has exclusively represented injured parties, including those in automobile and trucking accidents, work injuries, product liability cases, nursing home abuse cases, and social security and disability cases. Of the 33 lawyers who currently work at the firm, each handles a different component of personal injury.
“We’re able to give a voice to people of all walks of life who may not be able to help themselves, and that’s very important to us,” said NST partner Corey B. Trotz. “We love Memphis and feel very fortunate that we’re able to give back to the legal community and to the community at large. We’re always looking for organizations where we can help.”
Johnson was selected for the scholarship by a U of M law school committee based on a written essay and academic excellence. He ranks third in his class, and his honors include receiving the Dean’s Award for Best Legal Memorandum, the Dean’s Award for Best Oral Advocate and the CALI Awards in Criminal Law, Appellate Advocacy and Evidence. He was also recognized as a Herbert Herff Presidential Law Fellow.
“While Memphis is a great value law school – ranked in the top 10 best value law schools in the nation – going to law school is still not a small financial undertaking, so the generous financial assistance that this scholarship provides is extremely helpful,” said Johnson.
The scholarship is funded through an endowment NST has given to the law school.
“We have been amazed by the quality of students who are coming out of the University of Memphis law school now. They rival those of any other prominent school,” said Trotz, who attended the U of M law school in the 1980s when it was Memphis State University Law School. “We hire a lot of students from the University of Memphis because there’s a lot of diverse talent there, and they’re able to handle the challenges of an attorney.”
Johnson touts the fact that at the New York Bar National Moot Court Competition in 2015, Memphis had the No. 1 appellate court brief, beating out the likes of Vanderbilt, the University of Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisiana State, Tulane and Alabama. And in 2016, Memphis placed No. 2, missing first place by just two-tenths of a point to UT.
“I would put the best at Memphis up against the best at any other major law school in the nation,” said Johnson, who also is the notes editor for the Memphis Law Review Volume 48.
He believes being an attorney suits his highly competitive nature.
“I’m a competitive person. You don’t go to law school to sit around and be passive,” he said. “A lawyer is ethically bound to zealously advocate for his client, and there’s no better way to do that than with personal injury. Especially being on the plaintiff’s side, you are representing someone who has been injured or hurt. There has to be a balancing of the scales. You can’t have big corporate entities who can just throw money at a situation.”
Johnson is in his final month of classes and will take the bar exam this summer. His plans beyond that are still to be determined.
“I’ve learned in my life, especially as a nontraditional student, that the more you try to plan, the more life steps in with other things,” he said. “So right now I’m just focused on getting my license, and we’ll see where opportunities arise and where my job or career takes me.”