In the Summer Edition of the Portsmouth Metro Magazine, my wife and I were featured on the cover and in a very well-written story about our new office in the former Calvary Baptist Church. As you may know, my wife operates a separate real estate brokerage with her brother, Nick Rutman, also located in the same building. One reason why we bought our new office is so that our families could be closer together. Located in Suite B of our 1118 Hutchins St. office (we are in Suite A), the Rutman Burnside Realty Group (www.rutmanburnside.com), in just eight months of existence, has already helped several people buy and sell houses in our community. I am very proud of my wife's passion for people selling or buying homes and she has inspired me to step up my game in my law practice even further.
The Portsmouth Metro article cites more about why we bought the office and what it means to us. More importantly, the story does a good job showing what it means to our present and future clients. While I can't speak for Maddie and Nick, I can tell you that our new office brings another dimension to my law practice and how I prepare my cases. We renovated the former worship area into a mock courtroom - - with the jury box being located above the old baptismal. We have a witness stand, judges bench, clerk table, counsel tables and podium - - just like an actual courtroom. We believe our office building to be just one, of two, law firm buildings in the country, to be a re-purposed church and the only one to house a mock courtroom in the former worship area.
I prepare every case for trial from the first day I meet with the client. The goal is to resolve the case before a trial, which is a very risky event, but sometimes necessary to achieve justice. The trial can also be very traumatic for a client. For my personal injury, brain injury and wrongful death clients, a civil jury trial can be a very intrusive experience - - where the value of someone's life is placed under a microscope. Having a full mock courtroom to prepare the clients for these intrusive questions not only helps ease the clients' nerves and allows them to be themselves, but it also educates them on how the trial works. Sometimes, when a client is poised for trial and we prepare them with sample lines of questioning, the client may see things differently. More importantly, preparing a client for trial can remind them of why they withstood the litigation experience for so long, to begin with. Being prepared for trial is an extra comfort layer the client sometimes needs in order to stay strong to fight for justice.
Our mock courtroom, which has a balcony and state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities, is not only designed for trial preparation, but also for some community events, such as mock trial competitions/practice. Our office is not only easy for clients and prospective clients to get to, but it is located in the heart of our community. I look forward to my growing relationship with my neighbors, the American Red Cross and I hope that we can serve the Scioto County and the Ohio River Valley better not only in the courtroom but in the community.
When I told Maddie I wanted to buy an old church to renovate, she thought I had lost my mind. Throughout the ten long months of renovation, it became clear to the both of us about why we took such a risk. We love our family and our community - - and having a special office allows us to both live our dreams, build relationships, and help people. I believe our office building projects an image of strength and compassion - - both attributes every lawyer should aspire for.
The Portsmouth Metro Article can be found here: