For our August Professional Spotlight, we are pleased to introduce Richard Somes, Managing Partner of Tyson & Mendes’ new Orange County office. Rick has extensive experience representing individuals and businesses in state and federal courts throughout California, where his practice focuses on general liability, premises liability, personal injury, surety law, construction, medical malpractice, toxic and mass torts, and employment law. He may not have grown up to be Superman, but he makes a difference in the lives of defendants every day! Learn more about Rick and his plans for the OC team below.
T&M: Can you tell us a bit about your legal background?
RS: I have been practicing law since 2000 in the areas of medical malpractice, construction law, and general liability. My primary focus is premises liability. I was an equity partner with the law firm of Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck before joining Tyson & Mendes.
T&M: What drew you to Tyson & Mendes?
RS: I have always admired Tyson & Mendes from afar. The firm has achieved unbelievable results since its inception through its creative approach to defending clients. I want to be part of Tyson & Mendes’ continued success and to help the firm reach even greater heights.
T&M: What do you hope Tyson Mendes’ new Orange County office will accomplish under your leadership?
RS: Our team will contribute to the winning tradition set by the firm by achieving incredible results for our clients. I hope our office is considered by the legal community and our clients as an enthusiastic group of lawyers known for an incredible work ethic, integrity, and creative problem solving. I also plan to fully assist our team members in reaching above and beyond their personal career goals.
T&M: What professional achievement are you most proud of?
RS: I am most proud of consistently obtaining positive results over the years and of developing wonderful friendships with my clients. My clients know I am more than their lawyer – I am a friend they can trust will be there for them at any moment.
T&M: Similarly, what has been the biggest challenge of your career thus far and how did you deal with it?
RS: I believe every day as a lawyer poses its own unique challenges, and the thrill is coming up with creative ideas how to overcome those challenges. I strongly believe that lawyers need to be creative in developing strategies to successfully represent and defend their client. That is why I was so drawn to Tyson & Mendes. The firm has developed a cutting-edge approach to defeating the on-going canned approach by the plaintiffs’ bar of characterizing the defendant as a villain, and has shown that defendants (especially corporations) are made up of people who care about their communities. I have always believed in that philosophy, and it is wonderful to be part of a firm that shares these same values. This sincerity resonates with juries and negates the false narrative by the plaintiffs’ bar.
T&M: What did you want to be when you grew up?
RS: Please do not laugh: I wanted to be Superman as a child.
T&M: What made you decide to pursue a career in the law instead?
RS: There is only one Superman, so that career option was not available! That said, I feel being a lawyer involves doing the same things Superman did in the movies and comics: protecting and defending people in times of need. There is nothing more rewarding than helping people and that is what we do every day as lawyers.
T&M: What legal or community organizations are you most actively involved with?
RS: I am a member of OCBA, Association of Southern CA Defense Counsel, and National Retail & Restaurant Defense Association. I am also involved in our parish (Sts. Simon & Jude).
T&M: Where is the one place in Orange County you always like to take guests visiting from out of town?
RS: The beach! I think it is a place we are all drawn to, and it brings us all a feeling of peace. There is a quote by President Kennedy that describes our draw to the ocean perfectly:
“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”
T&M: What was it like playing a sport in college?
RS: It was extremely challenging and humbling. It taught me to never give up and keep on fighting even when the odds were completely against me. This lesson applies to everything we do in life, especially with the practice of law. I often think of this quote from Rocky Balboa:
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
T&M: When not at work or home, where are we most likely to find you?
RS: During the fall, I am likely with my family at a college football game (specifically USC football). When it is no longer football season, my wife and I are chasing down our three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter at the park or beach.
T&M: What is a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
RS: I love to sing. I was in musicals and choral concerts during my childhood and teenage years. I am retired from that world, but I still love to have friends over for a Karaoke session in my family room on occasion. Anyone want to join me for the next session?