I first walked into this building in 1993 as a first-year law student. That’s when I first met Bill Meeks, who owned the building. He became my mentor and friend. Bill terrified me, taught me, frustrated me, and made me laugh.
It was working for Bill that I met Eric Yavitch, who later became my partner. We were fortunate enough to learn from the best. And when we finished law school, we formed Yavitch & Palmer Co., L.P.A. After a brief departure from 511 South High, we came back to lease space from our mentor in 2000. Yavitch & Palmer has been here ever since.
Bill built this place with his mentor and friend, Paul Cassidy, in 1988. I never met Paul, but the stories are legendary, even to this day. All I need to do is mention his name in passing at court. Inevitably, one of the seasoned lawyers will have a story to tell. And always with a smile.
The community lost Paul in 1993, right before I first arrived in Bill’s office. We lost Eric Yavitch in 2008. And now Bill Meeks has been gone almost 3 years. It’s hard to believe.
For almost 30 years there has been an established criminal defense practice here at 511. I’m happy to continue that tradition. Bill Meeks learned from Paul Cassidy; I learned from Bill. As Bill always told me, “We are not cause lawyers. We get results.” I now preach that creed to the next generation. Good folks come to us for help. If we have to fight in court, we will. But we do so professionally, hopefully with the respect of our peers. We don’t “throw hand grenades” (as Bill used to say). We solve problems. And when it’s time to go to a courtroom, we go to win. But we do it fairly, and we do it respectfully.
Eric and I always felt like 511 was our home. I only regret that he wasn’t here long enough to own it with me.
I now sit every day in what used to be Paul Cassidy’s office. I never met him, but I feel a strong connection to the good old days. I look out the window at the parking lot, and it reminds me of Bill in his office doing the same. I am now part of the third generation of criminal defense attorneys at 511. And we created a Yavitch & Palmer logo to reflect that. It’s represented by the three bars.
I’ve always been a bit sentimental. So was Eric. And Bill was too (though he would never admit it). Today, on 5/11, I tip my hat to those who were here before and gave me the opportunity to do what I do.