Representation Profiles: Chris Roma

Welcome to the latest installment of HHK's blog series dedicated to giving you up close and personal insight of the people behind our one hundred plus year old institution.  The individuals we profile here have dedicated themselves to continuing Hinman, Howard & Kattell's motto ... Achieving client's goals since 1901.

Chris Roma is an Associate Attorney with Hinman, Howard & Kattell and is a member of HHK's Business Law practice group.

Chris L. Roma

How long have you worked at HH&K?

I started at HH&K in August of 2014, so around 18 months.

What are your practice areas?

My primary area of practice is business and corporate law.  However, I enjoy maintaining a diverse workload and also work with clients litigating disputes and have often found myself representing landlords in commercial and residential eviction proceedings.

When did you first decide you wanted to be an attorney?

My first year of college at George Mason University. At the time, HBO had a hit show “Entourage” and I really liked the character “Ari” played by Jeremy Piven, who was a talent agent.  It seems crazy to think about it now, but watching that show made me want to be an attorney and that desire never left.

Looking back on your first year of practice, what advice would you give a new attorney just starting their career?

Being and staying organized is imperative.  As a young attorney, you will get new files and matters to work on daily and if you are not organized it will make your life much more difficult.

Has there been anything during your first year of practice that has surprised you?

As a transactional attorney, as you move towards a closing, no matter how prepared you are there are always last minute things that come up and that need to be resolved.  I would say the first time I worked past 2 am on the night before a closing surprised me.  After closing a few transactions you come to expect things to come up as you approach the closing date.  You also become comfortable with the idea that you will work all night as a result.

What has been the most challenging part of practice so far?

It is common when in law school to hear people say that “law school does not teach you to be a lawyer.”  After a year plus of practice, that statement is ringing true.  There are a number of things that go into a daily practice of law that are never even discussed in law school.  I would say the most challenging part so far has been transitioning from law school into daily law practice.

 Did anyone give you any advice regarding practice that you find particularly valuable?

Probably the most valuable advice I have received is that HH&K has attorneys that practice in all areas of law.  If, in the course of my practice a question arises that relates to an area of law that I am unfamiliar with, the best option is usually to call a colleague who works in that area.  It seems obvious, but often attorneys will tackle these problems on their own rather than reach out to someone with experience in that area.  I have found it incredibly valuable to use the firm’s collective knowledge to address issues that I am unfamiliar with.

You were the attorney advisor for a local high school mock trial team. How was that experience?

Assisting Susquehanna Valley Mock Trial team has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far.  I should point out that if I did not pursue a law degree I had plans to teach.  It was amazing to see how talented and dedicated the high school students were.  They often surprised me with their ability to prepare for the mock trial, and their questions often left me impressed.  They got better with each mock trial and practice and ended up doing so well.  I was so proud of all of them.

Is there anyone at the firm who has served as mentor to you?

One of my favorite things about HH&K is the partners’ passion for teaching young associates.  As a result of that shared mentality, I often find myself being taught and mentored by a wide range of partners or other experienced attorneys.  That being said, Erica Lawson and Jim Franz have each dedicated a significant amount of time to teaching and mentoring me with respect to corporate law practice.  Larry Anderson has always mentored me with respect to the law, but also related to practical problems and other office matters. 

What is your favorite HH&K tradition?

The day I found out I passed the bar many attorneys gathered for a post work celebration.  At this gathering, I learned that I would be wearing a sport coat that belonged to Warren Anderson and was given to him at the conclusion of his time in the New York Senate.  It was signed by the former Governor Cuomo and the entire New York Senate.  While the jacket is wanting from a style point of view, I truly felt the history behind the jacket as I was wearing it.  It also fit great. Getting a chance to wear that jacket was something I will not soon forget.

If you could switch places with anyone at HH&K for a day, who would it be and why?

This is a tough question as my instinct is to answer this with any number of partners.  However, after thinking on this question for a while I think I would switch places with the legal secretaries.  It amazes me how incredible our secretaries are at their jobs, and I think it would be beneficial to see an attorney’s practice from their point of view.  To be able to see which attorney habits and practices work well and what habits and practices work not as well.  Plus, I am a firm believer that their job is equally as difficult as the attorneys, so it would be interesting to see it from their perspective for a day.

What are your hobbies?

Within the last year, I have started to fly quad-copter drones and now I cannot get enough of it.  I have slowly progressed from small ones to drones that you can fly out of eyesight using live stream camera footage and a sort of autopilot that will bring it home so long as you are within a three mile radius. I typically fly every day after work if I have time and the weather cooperates, and fancy myself a pilot.

What is the best concert you've ever been to?

The only concert I have ever been too was my junior year in high school.  I saw Greenday play at the newly opened BU Events Center.  It was fun, although I was not a huge fan of their music at the time.

What has been your favorite vacation spot so far and where would you like to go in the future?

I was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Ecuador the two summers before I started college.  I stayed with an exchange student who attended my high school for the year prior.  It was amazing to spend so much time with a family who lived in the capital, Quito.  The most exciting thing and also most terrifying thing that I did while in Ecuador was jump off a 60 foot water fall in the middle of the jungle.  In the future I would like to get to a few places in Europe and Asia.

You're an avid reader. What has been your favorite book you've read in the past year?

I typically only read non-fiction and usually it relates to past conflicts.  Recently, I completed a book titled “Inferno, World at War.”  In almost 700 pages, the author tells the story of World War II through the perspective of everyday citizens, so called “history from the bottom.”  It was remarkable the way the author was able to write about such wide scale tragic events from the perspective of everyday soldiers and citizens all around the globe.  I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in this type of read.

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