Among the amazing attorneys with whom I have had the pleasure to work is an attorney who lives and works in my hometown, Fort Myers, Florida. Although this series of posts has been about attorneys in Fort Myers, there is no other attorney, indeed, person, who is like the one I am going to write about in this post. The attorney who is the subject of this post is named Tom Chase. His skills as a trial attorney are stellar, but his poetry and his talents as a stand up comedian are truly “out of this world.” When some people meet Lawyer Chase (as he is known in Fort Myers), they almost immediately notice his keen ability to tell the story of his lawsuits and court cases, from multiple points of view, and with various vocal tones and inflections to depict the characters involved. Upon getting more acquainted with him, many of his opponents in the legal arena are quite surprised when they realize they have been fooled by Lawyer Chase’s polite, native Floridian accent (he is from Plant City, a couple hours north of Fort Myers) because, underneath all his charm, he is a formidable advocate on the part of the people he represents. However, what many people do not know is that Tom Chase is a man of very refined tastes, including art, music, and traveling, among other activities. He is also a gifted and talented poet who has published several excellent books of his original poems (including some great ones about his lovely wife). Tom has recently joined the ranks of stand up comedy, performing at events in Southwest Florida and beyond, but anyone who knows him can confirm he has been perfecting his comedy routine on all of us for a long time. Kudos to Lawyer Chase for helping people as an attorney, writing beautiful and thought provoking poetry, and finally, for making us laugh at your hilarious stories about life in the fast, and slow, lane!
Meeting Tom for the first time, about 20 years ago, I wasn’t sure what to think. His vivid story of one of his cases, which was one of those “truth is stranger than fiction” stories, has stuck with me forever, as it has with all who have heard it. It was not just the story itself, but the way in which he told the story, in great detail, and in several voices, that made it so remarkable. At first, I couldn’t be sure it was true. I don’t think he embellished the story as much as he told it as he heard it. To have the talent to tell stories, truth or fiction, in a compelling way, is an art. Tom is an amazing talent in that way. It has been cool to see this talent expand to forums where humor is appreciated. I say that because I’m not sure all of his opponents “get it” when dealing with him – I can see this would be difficult for some attorneys. But the way he is able to use his talents to his advantage as a lawyer is impressive. And, while, reading his poetry is very enjoyable, it is better to hear him recite his poetry because of the amazing way he brings his words to life. I have also enjoyed getting to know Tom for his interests in the outdoor world, including hunting, fishing or just exploring nature. He is a true outdoorsman with a special appreciation of our unique Florida flora and fauna. Just recently I heard him say, “Aren’t we lucky to live in paradise?” as the Moon and Venus were shining over the Gulf of Mexico, framed by a palm tree. We are lucky to be living in paradise, and we’re lucky to know Tom Chase!