In my decades long career as a social psychologist who works as a litigation research consultant, I have encountered thousands of attorneys. Most of the attorneys for whom I have provided research and consulting services have been professional, pleasant, and of above average intelligence. A few have been exceptional in one or more positive ways. Fewer still have been special enough for me to consider them friends. Then, there is one attorney whom I consider the “gold standard” among all of the clients for whom I have ever worked. His name is George E. “Buddy” Schulz, Jr. He works in the Jacksonville, Florida office of a large, multinational law firm. I have had the pleasure of knowing Buddy Schulz for almost 25 years, having met him soon after opening my company, Magnus, with my husband/business partner, David Fauss. I have worked with Buddy in a variety of cases, mostly complex civil litigation. I have also worked with Buddy in several high profile criminal cases, in which he, his law firm, and other law firms have provided legal services pro bono (meaning “for free”). Whether Buddy is working on a case in which he and his law firm are commanding substantial (and well deserved) legal fees or whether he and his law firm are representing a client who is paying nothing for his hard work, Buddy works with excellence that is unsurpassed in the legal profession. In addition, Buddy Schulz is unfailingly polite, respectful of co-counsel, opposing counsel, and consulting experts, such as my company and me, in amazing ways that I have never experienced from any other client. For example, Buddy answers his telephone! When I call him, it is he who answers the phone (if he is in his office), not a gatekeeper who desperately attempts to prevent me from talking to him. When I call him and leave a message, during times of his unavailability, he returns my call, often quickly, never once leaving me to call again and again until I finally reach him. When I send him an email, he replies, promptly and thoughtfully. I have seen him in many stressful situations, including during trial, and never have I observed him to be ill tempered, rude, or impatient with the many demands placed on him by people and situations. The reader may believe these actions are commonplace, but that could not be further from the truth. Most people whom I encounter, both professionally and personally, do not come close to the level of kindness, professionalism, ethics, and concern for human kind as Buddy Schulz (and I have encountered lots of people in my life!). Buddy is the “gold standard” not only for Magnus’ clients, but for people in general. So, this post is a shout out and tribute to you, Buddy! I am a better person for having known you and having worked for you all these years.
I have to admit that, when we scheduled our first meeting with Buddy, I was a bit intimidated. Magnus was new and he was the head of litigation for his firm, nationwide. We had a couple of connections that opened the door to meeting him and that meeting was the start of a very positive working relationship, and friendship. As Melissa says, Buddy is unique in that he is tremendously courteous and respectful. He is always very gracious and kind, and I believe his success is, in part, due to his ways of interacting with people. As skilled as he is as a lawyer, he is even more successful by being genuinely engaging with those working for or with him. I have observed him “corral” a team of lawyers on a large trial team and keep them working toward the end goal of obtaining the best outcome for the client. He does this very diplomatically and I have often thought that if Buddy, as powerful as he is, can do these things (including the responsive communications Melissa mentioned), why can’t all attorneys be this way? The sincere concern Buddy shows for his clients and his team, of which we are proud to have been a part, is probably hard for some to comprehend. And, we know we are not unique in our appreciation of Buddy and the working relationship we have had with him. It has been our experience that many people on the trial teams we have been on with Buddy come away having learned how to better their law practice and their interactions with others. I know I have.