NC Workers' Compensation Lawyer - Jay Gervasi - Part 8
Noted Greensboro Workers' Compensation Attorney Jay Gervasi joins Law Talk with Bill Powers to discuss the practice of law.
Bill Powers: Another Duke guy too.
Jay Gervasi: Yeah. A couple years ahead of me.
Bill Powers: And a good bass player if I remember correctly, I think he's a musician, and rugby player too if I remember rightly. Great guy.
Jay Gervasi: Yeah, there's a distinction of having played rugby for both Duke and Carolina, I think.
Bill Powers: Oh, I did not know that.
Jay Gervasi: [crosstalk] law school.
Bill Powers: I don't think he'd admit the latter.
Jay Gervasi: Can't have everything.
Bill Powers: And kind of a closing type of situation, and I'm always trying not encourage younger lawyers or people considering law, what words of wisdom do you have after being in the trenches 30+ years? Is it a career that you think you would... It sounds like you'd do it again.
Jay Gervasi: Absolutely.
Bill Powers: I don't know if I would, to be honest with you, there are times-
Jay Gervasi: Really?
Bill Powers: Yeah. I think it's a hard way to make a living and I think you have to be very careful in choosing where you spend your life and where you spend your time. I enjoy helping people, I do get tired of some of it, as I've gotten older a little bit. Some of the procedures and protocols, but I do enjoy helping people. But there are other professions out there. What advice do you have, whether it's a new lawyer, go for walks every day or join the bar, or whether someone's considering law school?
Jay Gervasi: Well, one of the things that... Like you referred to earlier, it's hard now because the debt loads of kids coming out of school, place them in a situation where they're forced not to leave jobs, almost like health insurance, you can't leave. For me, it was just brainless inertia. My first job at a law school down in Charlotte, was not a good fit for me. Let's just put it that way. But it was to the point where I was getting sort of physical symptoms of stress, which is very rare for me, I mean I don't really, things don't bother me particularly. But it was that bad.
Jay Gervasi: And I was fired there two weeks before my oldest daughter was born, and my wife was thrilled. She was so happy. There wasn't really a safety net and because I had been so miserable, that's how bad it was, I guess one of the keys is don't be afraid to look around and find other things, if you're not enjoying where you are.
Bill Powers: Absolutely.
Jay Gervasi: And don't think that you have to do the same thing the whole time you're practicing. Don't get locked in too early. I mean that's all easy advice for an old guy to give.
Bill Powers: It's good advice.
Jay Gervasi: If you don't want to be a lawyer, don't be a lawyer, do something else. I mean we do get paid reasonably well, you know you talked about the money, we don't make as much money as people think we do, I think. At least not all of us. But it's a lot more than I'd be getting paid doing just about anything else I'm qualified to do, I'm just stupid with money, so I'm like everybody else always got money troubles.
Jay Gervasi: But it really is... I mean just do something you want to do, don't do something you feel like you're locked into, if you can. Again, that's really hard advice to give somebody who's got debts to pay that force them to do certain things.
Bill Powers: I do worry about that. I worry about younger lawyers I see taking jobs because they feel like they have to have a job and then they're not happy in their job and they aren't fulfilled by the job and it shows. And that's tough. I do encourage people to do a lot of internships, look around a little bit. I said I'm the accidental lawyer, I really did not know what I wanted to do and I kind of fell into it by accident. Well, Jay, I do... Go ahead, I'm sorry.
Jay Gervasi: The other one thing that I would... is try not to let yourself be defined as being a lawyer. You don't want your tombstone to say, "This guy was a great lawyer." I mean I'm a husband, I'm a father, I'm a friend of people, I'm a colleague, I'm an orphan now because I'm old, my parents are dead, but I've got... there's a lot of things in your life that are not work. And that's really a hard thing when you're, again, especially if you end up at some of the firms where you get driven very hard with billable hours and that sort of thing, you can get lost in it and it can be really hard to get loose.
Jay Gervasi: Sometimes it's sort of... When I was doing stuff at Discovery Place it was because my boss thought that I should be doing specific things to be active in the community. He thought that was important. But that doesn't fit for me. I mean I liked it, but you can't be doing the things because you're checking it off a list. Do stuff you like, and don't be afraid to enjoy your life, I guess.
Bill Powers: Well, that's great advice and Jay, I want to thank you for joining me and I'd like to give you a plug. I've known Jay for a while, a great lawyer, great person, obviously has some unique perspectives. If you have a question about workers' compensation law in North Carolina, if you'd like to know more about your legal rights and whether you have a case I guess, give Jay a call. I think your number, Jay correct me, is 336-790-0157, is that right?
Jay Gervasi: I have no idea, it might be, it may be one of the ones that the internet company does them. The number that is the one I use all the time is 336-574-0174. And those of us who have been doing it for a while, I know you do too Bill, it's important that we be reasonably generous with our time with other lawyers, that sort of thing. So it's not just clients who call, I mean I'm not the only one, but of course the organization as you know is important for helping lawyers... Sometimes a case falls in somebody's lap and you've got to kind of put your ego aside and realize that maybe you're going to do better if you talk to some people who have done more of that kind of work. But lawyers and law students for that matter, feel free to give me a call, I like talking to people. [crosstalk]
Bill Powers: Great, and your website's lawyerforinjuredworkers.com?
Jay Gervasi: Yeah, I think so. And of course if you just look for Jay Gervasi, I'm pretty much all that's going to pop up. I think some of Dad's old bridge scores might be waiting on there. I think I may be the only Jay Gervasi and the world at this point now that Pop's gone, so pretty easy to find, not a hard thing.
Bill Powers: Right. Well, thank you so much again for your time and if you are a listener and you have legal topics or questions or would like more information about lawyers, the law, and the practice, you may email me, Bill Powers, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Jay thank you so much and we look forward to hearing from everybody.
Jay Gervasi: Thank you.
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