Watch Great Ones, Become a Great One
How Tony Taft unlocked the secrets of the courtroom
Published in 2010 Texas Rising Stars magazine on March 17, 2010
When Tony R. Taft takes on a case, he makes it clear from the start that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help his client. This includes letting his opponent know he isn’t afraid to go all the way to trial. “If you let the other side know that if need be we will take this case to and through trial, it makes the other side more willing to negotiate to get the case resolved,” he says.
And that’s just what he did when defending a family against their insurance company. A family had an escrow on their mortgage to pay for hurricane insurance, except the insurance agent never turned the funds over to the insurance company. “When Hurricane Ike hit, this family had a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of damage to their home,” Taft says. “They were waiting on the insurance companies to step in and do what they’re supposed to do [but] there was no one there willing to step up to the plate.” Taft was fully prepared to go to trial but on the eve of the trial date the case was resolved. “I think that’s the ideal situation for a client,” Taft says.
Taft says he learned the art of advocacy as a participant in the appellate advocacy program at South Texas College of Law. “What influenced me the most,” he says, “was watching great trial lawyers that have properly prepared their case and used the art of persuasion to present their case for trial.” Properly preparing and assessing cases has become a cornerstone in his practice. “Understanding the strengths and weaknesses at the very beginning is invaluable when you’re trying to communicate the justness or the rightfulness in bringing such a case,” he says. Taft is also not afraid to tell his clients if he doesn’t think they have a strong case, and he says this honesty is one of the reasons they keep coming back to him.
In July 2009 Taft opened up his own law firm, The Taft Law Firm, which he hopes will become known as a civil litigation specialist firm that provides strong advocacy for its clients. Taft is the only attorney right now, and while he would like to add a few more lawyers, he doesn’t want to become a huge firm. “I’m not interested in growing the practice to have 30 or 40 attorneys,” he says. “I’d like to have two or three committed attorneys that are really seeking to do diligent work, meaningful work, and seek justice for their clients.”