This past week, one of our attorneys, Curt Beason, celebrated 30 years as a partner at Lane & Waterman. To remember his time here, we sat down with him to chat about what has changed and what’s stayed the same during his time at the firm. The theme throughout our conversation was clear –in law and in life, it’s all about relationships.
What has changed and what has stayed the same since you started at Lane & Waterman?
I would say that the culture of the firm has always been pretty progressive. When I started as an associate in 1980, I got to work with all of the senior partners, which is not the norm for law firms. They were willing to mentor and train us, even when it took more of their personal time.
Who were some of those senior partners who had the most influence on you?
I learned a lot from all of them. Larned Waterman was one who inspired me to become more involved in arts in the community which eventually led to me becoming very involved with the River Music Experience (RME). From Dinny Waterman, who headed our corporate practice at the time, I got to learn about and assist with all aspects of major transactions. From Bob Waterman, Sr., I learned about trial work. He took me to depositions and trials and coached me on zoning litigation. As a result, I developed a specialty practice in the zoning area. Bob was also very involved in the civic life of the community, and he instilled that commitment in all of us. Bob Van Vooren, who was a master of all trades, was active politically and with legislative/executive legal matters, which is the reason I primarily focus on that area of the law these days. He also got me involved in Rejuvenate Davenport and another organization which is now the Downtown Davenport Partnership (part of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce). These downtown centered organizations are to thank for redeveloping millions of dollars in projects including the site where the Quad-City Times building now sits.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I think that comes back to my role as a volunteer in the community. Volunteering with the RME and Downtown Davenport Partnership is rewarding –giving back to the community and seeing change happen is fulfilling for me. That’s also the reason I enjoy the legislative work I do; I get to help clients navigate changing laws and make things happen for them.
What advice would you give to the newest partners and associates starting their practice?
First, find an area of practice that you really like to do. If you like doing it, you will naturally become good at it. Just look at some of our senior partners –they like what they do and they have become recognized by their peers (such as Best Lawyers) for their areas of expertise.
Second, find a nonprofit area that you’re passionate about and volunteer. The practice of law is relationship-based. In the process of giving back and building those relationships, you’ll see your practice grow as well, and before you know it, you’ll have 30 years under your belt and still love what you do.