The Omaha Bar Association (OBA) Newsletter published a great article about Patrick McNamara and the McNamara Law Firm. Dave Sommers, Executive Director of the OBA interviewed Patrick and put together a humorous take on some differences of practicing law in Omaha vs. New York. The article is republished here below:
OBA Newsletter, March 2015 - Feature Story
Meet a Young Lawyer Division Member: Patrick McNamara
By Dave Sommers
Omaha, NE - If you've been to an OBA event in the past two years, there’s a good chance that you heard a voice in the crowd that’s different from the rest; its speed, cadence and pronunciation giving away its northern East Coast origin. Full of energy, ideas, and always willing to talk about the finer points of New York Mets baseball, Patrick McNamara makes quite an impression on those he meets. “That’s the idea,” Patrick says with a smile, “it’s good to be known.”
Since arriving in Omaha in 2012 with his wife, Katie (an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Council Bluffs) McNamara has done a lot to be known in the local legal community. Patrick joined the Omaha Bar Association and its Young Lawyers Division immediately, and quickly began attending events. “Those first few OBA functions were great for getting integrated into the local legal community, and especially among the young attorneys,” McNamara noted. Patrick worked at Anderson Bressman & Hoffman for a year before going out on his own as a solo practitioner. His experience gleaned from his 3 years of practice in New York, combined with the year working with Charlie Bressman and Ryan Hoffman, gave McNamara the practice experience and confidence to build a successful practice.
So what brought Patrick from Long Island, NY to Omaha? “My wife (Katie) is from Omaha, and when we got married in May 2012 we decided to move to Nebraska because we knew that it would be a great place to raise our family and grow our legal careers,” he said. It quickly became clear to McNamara that law practice in Nebraska varied in significant ways to that found in New York. “The difference is drastic. Practicing in Nebraska is 100% better than practicing in New York. The courts run much more efficiently. The overhead is much lower. The office space is much nicer and referrals come more easily. Clients seem to be more reasonable in putting together a plan of action. The lower cost of living also allows clients to have the cash on hand to afford legal services.” Patrick added, with a shudder, “It’s also nice not having to spend multiple mornings a week sitting through a 200-case cattle call as I would have in Brooklyn or Nassau County.”
The attorneys are also much better to deal with, McNamara says. “I find that many of the attorneys here are willing to work towards a compromise in order to resolve a matter.” In addition, “the Midwest work ethic rings true, in that there is a much quicker turnaround on discovery and document production.”
McNamara’s engagement in the local community has also helped his practice. He’s a part of the OBA Lawyer Referral Service, from which he’s received numerous cases, some of which have been lucrative. “No doubt, it’s worth the cost to join LRS,” Patrick says. “I can’t thank the OBA enough for helping to ease my transition. The OBA also set me up to share office space with Hightower Reff Law Firm, which has been a blessing as well.” Outside of the OBA, McNamara has also been active in the NSBA, writing and editing for the Nebraska Lawyer magazine, and active in a local BNI group, which assists in generating client leads.
In addition to growing his practice, McNamara has been volunteering his time with the Innocence Project, and getting to know most of the local golf courses. “I’ve played just about all the courses in the Omaha area,” he says, his stare distant as he recalls some of his better rounds. “I’m always down for playing a round at a course I haven’t played yet.”
What advice does McNamara have for new lawyers, just starting practice? “It may be cliché but it’s so true: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and admit when you don’t know something.” When asked where he sees himself in five years, Patrick foresees a growing family with his wife, and a growing law practice, employing 2 or 3 paralegals. “Oh,” he says with a mischievous grin, “and I see myself reading about the Mets preparing for their third championship season in four years. I say three in four years because I’m a realist: I know they can’t win it four years in a row.”
McNamara Law Firm thanks Dave Sommers and the OBA for making this contribution.