Attorney Spotlight: Clark R. Conforti

Attorney Spotlight: Clark R. Conforti

You are an associate with Tyson & Mendes but in this year alone have already tried two cases! That’s pretty rare. How have you managed to get so much trial experience so quickly?

I guess you can call it good luck! I came to the firm wanting to get trial experience and got my wish when the first case I worked on went to trial in January (and then another one went to trial in April). One reason I have been able to get so much trial experience is because the firm is not afraid to take on difficult cases and is ready to take cases to trial when plaintiffs’ demands are unreasonable. When my team tries cases, we implement the Tyson & Mendes methods to avoid Nuclear Verdicts® and have been able to obtain excellent results for our clients.


What drew you to Tyson & Mendes?

I was really drawn to Tyson & Mendes because of how much time and resources the firm invests in its attorneys, as well as the flexibility and opportunities the firm provides. I was impressed by the Tyson & Mendes methods, as well as the innovation and collaboration the firm emphasizes. I had heard great things from a friend who started with the firm as a law clerk and is now an attorney so I submitted an application as soon as I saw the job posting. I was impressed by the firm’s culture and the stellar teams that Ed Leonard and Derek Earley have assembled, so I could not pass up on the chance to join.


You previously interned for the San Diego DA’s Office – is that where you first found a passion for trial? What led you to pursue a career in civil litigation instead of criminal law?

I have always enjoyed learning about the intersection of criminal and civil law. So much so that I even tutored first-year law students in criminal law and torts when I was a law student! I had a great experience with the San Diego DA and got my first courtroom experience there so you could definitely say that experience helped spark my passion for trial. I think I chose civil litigation because I find the issues and facts in tort cases to be the most interesting and challenging to litigate and resolve.


You have spent quite a bit of time with Tyson & Mendes Partner Ed Leonard, an esteemed ABOTA trial lawyer. How has his guidance helped you?  

I cannot praise Ed Leonard enough as a team leader and mentor. It is an absolute privilege to do both of my trials with Ed. He is a force to be reckoned with both inside and outside the courtroom. Seeing how Ed strategizes and prepares for trial has helped me grow exponentially as a trial attorney. Ed is also an amazing mentor who empowers the attorneys on his team to grow and gives them opportunities to develop their skills to become better advocates for their clients. I have already learned so much in my time on Team Ed and am excited to see what the future brings!


You also recently completed the firm’s Trial Academy program. How did this unique training program help develop your trial skills?

The Trial Academy was an invaluable experience, especially after just finishing two real trials. The ability to practice all the different aspects of a trial with constructive feedback from the firm’s many experienced trial attorneys is exactly the type of opportunity that made me want to join Tyson & Mendes. Working with a trial partner and developing a strong theme and trial strategy was both challenging and rewarding. It was also exciting to receive a jury verdict in our favor after the mock trial. After two trials and a mock trial, I am ready to take on the next challenge to continue developing my trial skills!


What three pieces of advice would you give to defense attorneys in their first five years of practice?

First, do not be afraid to take on a new challenge and get out of your comfort zone. It is just as important to hone the skills you are good at as it is to improve in areas you are less comfortable or experienced in. Trying new things and then taking time to reflect and think of ways you can improve is the only way you can become a well-rounded attorney. Also remember that good preparation and anticipating issues are the keys to success. Whether you are a first-year attorney or have decades of trial experience, no one is perfect so don’t be too hard on yourself. Being an attorney requires you to always be thinking of ways to grow, adapt, and improve.

Second, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, don’t forget you have a team of experienced attorneys and experts who you can rely on to help you succeed. You can save yourself a lot of time and stress if you reach out to your team and someone can give you direction because they have experience on the issue you are grappling with. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Always remember that your job is to make things clear and understandable to your audience as possible, whether it is a client, opposing counsel, or the judge. It is much harder to convince a judge to grant your motion or a client to follow your recommendation when you are not confident with the issues you are arguing or explaining. Once you take the time to learn an issue, you will then be the expert when someone asks for guidance on that topic and the cycle continues.

Third, make sure you take care of yourself and find the balance that you need to stay energized and engaged. Be flexible and a team player, but also make time to do the things that make you who you are. Don’t forget the importance of self-care, family, friends, sports, hobbies, and things that make you happy. Litigation is like floating down a river–you will hit some rapids, but next thing you know you will be floating along another calm stretch once you get through that big motion or trial. Take the time to enjoy the slower times so you don’t get burnt out when things inevitably heat back up. When you find yourself in the thick of it, remember that “this too shall pass” and give it your best effort!




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