Craig Schauermann as of July 1, 2015 — Of Counsel, but still a part of the firm
Fall had just turned to winter when I arrived for a second interview at Schauermann Thayer Jacobs & Staples. My first interview had gone well and I was optimistically hopeful an associate attorney position at one of the most respected personal injury firms in Vancouver, Washington was mine to accept.
I arrived to find the mood at the office to be cheerful and jovial. Everyone seemed in good spirits. I egocentrically assumed the news of my hiring had preceded me and that others shared my excitement. Rather, I was unceremoniously invited back to Craig Schauermann's office. Elegantly framed plaques and seemingly countless legal awards and honors adorned his walls. Craig was leaned back in his chair. Relaxed. He greeted me warmly and invited me to sit down in the rich leather chair that sat on the other side of his dark mahogany desk. I imagined the countless injured persons who had sat in the same chair before me.
As I sat down, Craig calmly told me the story of how one of his clients came to be catastrophically injured. He had just received the arbitration award. The net award to his young client was in excess of $3.8 million. He took a few more minutes to tell me about the case and about his client and her family. Even with my defense background, I quickly recognized the story to be one that many attorneys would have dismissed—without even taking on the case—as it being “too hard” or “too unwinnable” or having “too many problems.” To Craig, it was simply a wrong that needed to be righted. Rather than write off a difficult case, Craig offered his client an experienced and skilled attorney. He dedicated himself to ensuring that his client received compensation for the harms and losses she had suffered. He got in, threw all his energy, creativity, legal knowledge and experience at the challenge, and came out with a life-changing award for a young girl.
For an attorney who has ten times been recognized as a Super Lawyer (this year being the most recent), this was just another day at the office.
That was nearly four years ago. Thankfully, on behalf of the firm Craig extended a job offer to me that day. Then, with the same level of unwavering dedication and commitment shown to his clients for the past 38 years, he mentored me. He taught me. He answered my questions. He asked me questions. He respected me. He treated me like an equal until I felt like his equal. Then he invited me to be his law partner.
To Craig, it was simply a wrong that needed to be righted. Rather than write off a difficult case, Craig offered his client an experienced and skilled attorney. He dedicated himself to ensuring that his client received compensation for the harms and losses she had suffered. He got in, threw his complete energy, creativity, legal knowledge and experience at the challenge, and came out with a life-changing award for a young girl.”
My experience is not unique. As well-loved and respected as Craig is among his clients and the legal community generally, our other partners each share similar sentiments as those described above. Scott Staples ventured this path, the path to call Craig “partner”, just a few short years before I did. Jeff Jacobs, a few years before that. Bill Thayer and Craig started this firm together back in 1986 when they collectively had not much more than the shingle they hung outside the office. If you asked any one of them, you would hear similar accounts of mutual respect and unwavering trust in Craig the lawyer, Craig the partner, and Craig the friend. Which he is to each of us.
It is from this tradition of excellence that our firm proudly announces Craig's transition, effective July 1, 2015, from managing partner of the firm to an “of counsel” role with the firm. Craig is not retiring. He is not walking away and washing his hands of the mission he and Bill started. He is not abandoning his clients and his partners. Although he won't be lead trial counsel in litigated cases going forward, Craig will be present on a part-time basis in the office and will continue his long history of mentorship and contribution to the firm's clients and cases. He will continue to be active in the legal community and in the Washington State Association for Justice. He will continue to advocate for the rights of injured victims and their families.
His role will in some ways be different, but he will still be here.