There’s been more cheer than usual at Wendel Rosen’s Construction Practice Group this holiday season.
Earlier this month, Quinlan Tom, a construction and business attorney, joined us from McInerney & Dillon, a venerable and well-respected construction boutique firm (we know a lot of folks there) with local roots like us in Oakland, California. We’ve all known Quinlan for a while, so when he decided to join our band of merry legal practitioners, we were quite thrilled.
Being lawyers though, and better at asking than answering questions, we decided to pose a few questions to Quinlan:
Q. So, you’ve just been sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, under penalty of perjury. So, tell us about your practice.
A. Let me just start with it’s quite an honor to appear in your blog; I’ve been a reader for a while (in secret of course before I got to Wendel Rosen). I’m also excited to join you and the other members of Wendel Rosen’s Construction Practice Group; as you mention, I’ve known each of you professionally for quite some time and respect each of you tremendously.
I started as a construction litigator right out of law school. I completed three years of mechanical engineering at UC Davis and put that on my resume when I was looking for a job after law school. (In addition, my dad retired after 40 years in the trenches as a union electrician). McInerney & Dillon (“M&D”) and a couple of other firms found that interesting and I ended up starting with M&D. I did find that my engineering studies helped with my acclimation to construction disputes. While I never pretend to be an engineer, it has provided me with a foundation of how the construction process works and how the projects are designed. 26 years later, I continue to enjoy counseling my clients in their construction disputes/issues and still find each construction project I am involved with fascinating.
I have tried, arbitrated and litigated cases for 26 years, from the United States District Court to the California Superior Court and the California Office of Administrative Hearings. I have argued cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Court of Appeal. I counsel my clients into hopefully making the best business decisions available melding the knowledge I have gleaned from my litigation experience with their financial and personal goals.
Q. Where did you go to college and law school and how long have you been practicing law?
A. I went to the University of California, Davis for undergraduate studies and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law for my law degree. I have been practicing for just over 26 years now. Wow, did I just write that? Thanks for making me realize I’m close to being called an old guy now.
Q. If you were doing some research in our law library and a copy of Eldridge on Wrongful Death Actions (4th Edition) fell off the top shelf and struck a fatal blow to your head, what would you say your proudest achievement has been as a lawyer, in your last dying breaths?
A. I know my clients feel that I did my best for them, whether it was a $20,000 dispute or a $40,000,000 dispute at stake.
Q. As we’re cleaning out your office to collect your personal effects we find a dog-eared spiral notebook with the title “Musings of a California Lawyer” handwritten on the cover in neat block letters, what entry about a case or incident you experienced as a lawyer would you rather we not read, not that it would stop us?
A. That when I started way back in 1989 I had absolutely no clue as to what a construction lawyer did.
Q. Where are you from and would you care to share anything about your life growing up?
A. I was born and raised in Northern California (and raising a family of my own here now). I started working as a pharmacy delivery boy on a bike when I was 14 and have worked continuously since then and every day I feel I am privileged to have the jobs I’ve had, most importantly the one I’ve had for the last 26 years.
Q. What’s the story behind the bow ties?
A. The long ties kept getting food on them.