I grew up in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in the 1970's and 1980's, living in Boise (several times), Walla Walla, Kennewick, Beaverton, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls. My dad managed and owned restaurants and we moved frequently. I don't think my little sister liked moving, but I sure did. Each new place was a new adventure.
By the time I reached junior high we had settled down in Boise, where the family remained until I finished high school. I tried to leave but eventually came back to Boise to attend Boise State University, where I met my wife Kimberly. We both graduated in 1995.
My decision to become a lawyer is something of a mystery, even to me. I didn't grow up wanting to be a lawyer, and I'm not even sure when I first got the idea. I don't remember even knowing any lawyers when I was a kid, so most of my information came from television. I liked LA Law and didn't see a lot of other ways to use my English degree at the time. In a stroke of fortune (good or bad may be debatable), soon after deciding to go to law school and in the midst of submitting applications, I was picked as a juror on a two-week insurance bad faith that was full of drama and legal theatrics, and I was hooked. That jury rendered what I later discovered was, at the time, the largest jury verdict in Idaho history. Even with two decades of hindsight, I still feel that the shocking facts of that case merited the award.
After I decided to go to law school, I made sure I had lots of options. I applied to 11 law schools around the country, hoping I would be accepted somewhere, and was astonished to receive acceptance letters from all of them. Although I had only visited Arizona once - during brief stopover on a family vacation when I was 13 years old, the University of Arizona was at the top of my list. It may not have offered the same name recognition as some of the other schools, but it did have an excellent price tag, incredible weather (remember, I was coming from Boise), and a really good basketball team. All of these carried equal weight in my decision.
I'm now very grateful for that decision to come to Arizona. My wife and I fell in love with Tucson and our two oldest children were born there. A few years later we moved to the Phoenix area, where my youngest daughter was born. We've settled down in Gilbert now, but our oldest is headed back to Tucson to attend the U of A, and we have high hopes for the other two.
After graduating from the U of A I worked for law firms in Tucson, Boise and Phoenix, and then decided I just couldn't keep working for somebody else. I had worked for small firms with just a couple other lawyers, mid-size firms with 5-20 other lawyers, and for one of the largest firms in the world with hundreds of lawyers and dozens of offices around the world. I knew that I wanted to practice law in different way that I couldn't find anywhere else.
My professional philosophy is largely informed by a desire to emphasize the role of the lawyer as a legal counselor and advisor, rather than simply a technician offering some service without you even really knowing why you need that service. Although there are historical distinctions between the terms lawyer, attorney, and counselor at law, these distinctions have mostly disappeared in the United States. In modern parlance, a lawyer or attorney is simply someone who is a licensed member of the legal profession who is authorized to represent a client in a legal matter. For better or worse, law schools have been pumping these out for decades and, for lack of a better cliché, they are a dime a dozen.
Less common is a true legal counselor - meaning someone who is willing to discuss your case with you and help you understand your risks, opportunities, and options. When I established my firm almost a decade ago I committed myself to create a practice where I would never pressure a client to bring a case that shouldn't be brought, even in some cases where the case might have legal merit. Instead, I understood that sometimes [often] the legal system is not the best way to resolve a dispute or handle a problem, even when the legal system might represent the best profit opportunity for the lawyer. In those cases, a lawyer who is willing to provide wise legal counsel provides a priceless service.
On the other hand, there are situations where the services of an attorney are absolutely necessary, and clients deserve a capable representative to help navigate an increasingly complex legal system.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, I may or may not be able to offer legal representation, but I will do everything I can to provide the information that you need to understand and address your legal situation, whatever it is. If your case does merit or require formal representation by an Arizona attorney, I'll discuss your goals and expectations, outline a recommended course of action, and explain exactly how much our legal services will cost.
At the end of the day, I can't guarantee any outcome, but I can assure you that I'll do everything possible to earn your your business and your lifelong friendship.
- Kevin Harper