Bryan O. Blevins Jr. was profiled by Law360 for its “Plaintiffs Bar Perspective” series featuring prominent plaintiff’s attorneys. The full article can be found on Law360.com (subscription may be required.)
Bryan O. Blevins Jr. is an equity partner at Provost Umphrey Law Firm LLP and a member of the management committee in Beaumont, Texas. Within the firm, Blevins serves as administrator, trial coordinator and litigator for its asbestos department including direct coordination of over 10,000 cases and assists with the administration and strategic planning of other mass tort dockets.
Blevins was named Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year in 2005, has been recognized on the Texas Super Lawyer list since 2003, and was selected as Best Lawyer’s Lawyer of the Year in 2014 and 2016 for "Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs." In 2015, Blevins served as president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association where he received the Michael T. Gallagher Legislative Advocacy Award for his work protecting the rights of the wronged and jury trials under the Seventh Amendment.
Q: What's the most rewarding aspect of working as a plaintiffs attorney?
A: Helping others. When you help a family receive closure for the loss of a loved one by holding the responsible party accountable or winning a breach of contract case for a small business owner that almost lost his company — there is no feeling more satisfying.
Q: What skill do you feel is most important for achieving success as a plaintiffs attorney?
A: A plaintiffs attorney must be a good storyteller. Walter Umphrey always said good cases make good lawyers, and he was right. However, if you can’t effectively and persuasively tell your client’s story, even the best case can still be lost.
Q: Share an example of a case that was particularly challenging, and how you handled it.
A: You often learn the most from the cases you lose. I had a client who was in the country illegally, could not speak English and we had to use an interpreter for the jury. He had disfigured his hand when a drum he was cutting exploded. The plaintiff could not remember what happened leading up to the explosion. As a result, we had to piece together testimony of multiple witnesses in order to reconstruct the event to the jury. We ultimately lost because we could not effectively tell our story. We spent too much time explaining and not enough time persuading. As a young lawyer, it taught me a lot about what cases not to take.
Q: What advice would you offer to young lawyers interested in practicing as a plaintiffs attorney?
A: It is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, you have to work hard, take risks and realize that you are not in control of the outcome.
Q: Name a plaintiffs attorney outside your own firm who has impressed you and tell us why.
A: I have been blessed to work with and observe a lot of great lawyers. During my term as president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, I got to know Mike Gallagher of Houston. He is well into his 70s and he is still taking on new litigation, trying cases, and mentoring young lawyers inside and outside his firm, all while giving his time and money to both his community and the legal profession.