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MISSISSIPPI PROFILES — Forman Watkins: A firm with solid roots in Mississippi

ALAN TURNER

I had the opportunity to talk with Trey Watkins, a partner in the firm of Forman Watkins & Krutz LLC, and learn about what sets the firm apart.

Watkins grew up in Jackson and it’s been his home for most of his life. Trey went to law school at Ole Miss, completing his education in 2001. After a couple of years serving as a teacher and coach, he joined Forman Watkins and has been there ever since. He’s definitely a great evangelist for the firm.

“Our firm may be over 30 years old, but in many ways we still feel ‘new’,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm in all of our offices, and we’re pleased to have a great group of young and upcoming lawyers on our team.”

Watkins said they work hard at providing a great career environment for young lawyers.

“We want people to make their careers with us,” he suggested. “There is a family feel to our firm that helps to nurture our people with professional support, and we feel really encouraged that we’ve been able to attract so many talented people. I guess you’d say we’re close.”

Trey Watkins

I asked Watkins what helps to set the firm apart.

“Our firm was started by small town guys from Mississippi,” he said. “We may have offices in 5 states, but our roots are still in Mississippi, and always will be. We have a lot of pride in what we’ve accomplished over the past several decades, but we’re not done, and we see a lot of room for organic growth in the coming years.”

Basically, Forman Watkins is a “litigation firm,” as Watkins defines it.

“We typically focus on defending our clients from lawsuits,” he said. “Many are large clients, but we also work with NCAA coaches who may be involved in lawsuits, and so on. One of the things that we work very hard to do is to provide good judgment to our clients.”

Watkins suggested that Forman Watkins is “more about substance, and less about flash.” “That’s what our clients deserve, and that’s what we always work hard to deliver,” he said.

I asked him how long they can be engaged in a case, and whether that may differ depending on what state the litigation may occur, since the firm handles cases all over the country.

“Well, it can be anywhere from 6 months to 10 years,” he said. “It all depends on the complexity of the case and the scope of the lawsuit. Typically, Mississippi is one of the more efficient states when it comes to litigation, and that’s usually a good thing.”

I asked Watkins how the firm looks at Mississippi in terms of the economy, opportunities, and the future.

“We’re definitely bullish on Mississippi,” he said. “It’s our home, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished here. I personally feel that Mississippi has a very bright future in terms of our economy, the progress that we’re making as a state, and the opportunities that exist now and down the road.”

I also asked him what advice he might have for young people who are considering a career in law.

“You have to be committed,” he said. “Law is both challenging and rewarding, and it demands people who are willing to go the extra distance. Now, with that said, not everyone who gets a law degree ultimately serves as a lawyer. What I mean by that is that an investment in law school can lead not only to a great career in law, but in many other areas as well. So I think it’s a great way to establish a productive career.”

Watkins also pointed out that there are many other careers in law.

“Our firm wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of great paralegals, administrative people, finance people, and so on. That’s another great career avenue that should never be overlooked by someone who might want to be involved in law, but not necessarily as a lawyer.”

One thing is certain: Forman Watkins is one of Mississippi’s great success stories, and it’s always great to see firms that are fully committed to our state and its communities.

Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at alan.turner@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1021.

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About Alan Turner