This week we welcome Arkadelphia, Arkansas, attorney Travis Berry to the NBTA member spotlight. Travis is a partner at Wright, Berry & White, PLLC, has 30 years of trial experience and has tried nearly 100 jury trials to verdict. He has represented plaintiffs in cases ranging from medical negligence to product liability, fire claims, motor vehicle accidents, defective firearms and several other areas. He has also represented defendants in hundreds of motor vehicle defense cases over the years.

Travis was lead counsel for the plaintiff in a product liability multi-district litigation in Federal Court with cases in seven states and has represented plaintiffs and defendants in class action litigation, and he is the founder of the Gar Gig Continuing Legal Education event held each year at Cedar Lodge in Arkadelphia on the Ouachita River. Travis is also certified by the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission as a mediator for Arkansas’ Circuit Courts.

Where did you go to law school?
Bowen School of Law, Little Rock, Arkansas

How long have you been in practice?
Since 1983

In what areas of law are you NBTA certified?
Civil Pretrial

Why is NBTA membership important?
NBTA is a National recognized organization that allows lawyers I come into contact with to immediately understand my commitment to the law practice and my passion to protect the interest of my clients.

What would you say to another attorney about why they should become board certified?
I am a member of many organizations and associations but none hold the distinction of being "Board Certified" by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Several of the groups involve a selection process that does not compare to the National Board of Trial Advocacy. When an attorney sees that I am Board Certified, they know I have been approved by my peers and Judges and have taken an exam. It sets me apart from the other lawyers in my area.

What legal arenas do you have experience in beyond your area of certification?
I am a Certified Mediator by the Arkansas Dispute Resolution Commission. I am a member of American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). I am a member of the Association of Attorney Mediators. I have been selected as the Top 100 by the American Bar Association and the National Bar Association. I have been selected by Super Lawyers many times and the list of groups and organizations get longer each year.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
There were 29 grandchildren born in my family. I was the first the graduate college. I knew that being a lawyer would give me the opportunity to make a difference in the direction of my life. I learned you have to grab the bull by the horns if you wish to change his direction. Daddy taught me the problems with being on the other end of that bull.

What made you choose the area of law in which you practice?
I enjoy the personal verification that comes when a jury accepts your position and renders a verdict consistent with your client's case. I have had the honor to try hundreds of cases over the years and that feeling never gets old. I have limited my practice to Civil Litigation because I really enjoy helping my clients to a successful conclusion. I am doing more and more Mediation because I can use my experience to help other lawyers avoid the uncertainty of trial, save cost and expense and get closure with a happy client.

In your opinion, what makes a successful lawyer?
Integrity, hard work and transparency. I always look for ways that I can help other lawyers become better at what they do and have found it always returns dividends to me.

What's been most rewarding about your career?
Hands down, it is the phone call you get from a previous client several years after the representation when they call you and explain that you made a difference in their life.

What advice would you give to a young professional considering law school?
The practice of law will give you an opportunity to experience many different paths. I have been a litigator and would do nothing else, but a decision to complete law school will open doors that you would never have the chance to consider.

Share an example of a case that made a difference.
There are several cases settled when the client was a minor, and the structured settlement allowed them to attend college and change their life.

But, having a client become my friend after the jury returned a not guilty verdict in a murder case and in the years later watching our kids play football is about as good as it gets.

What is your mission as a lawyer?
I want to be remembered as a lawyer that really cared about his clients and was respected by his peers. We are in a profession that suffers from the perception and bad publicity surrounding high profile case. My clients know I will go the extra mile to help them, but the lawyers also know if i tell them something, they can take it to the bank.

What causes are important to you and why?
I would like to help restore the confidence in our Judicial System. It is imperative that we have an independent judiciary. I believe lawyers have the responsibility to not only protect our 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury, but also to help the public understand this right is precious and should not be taken for granted.