September 14, 2021
Bob Buckley, partner at White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, is a regular columnist for The Examiner of East Jackson County. In his latest column, Buckley explains his professional development throughout the years and his viewpoint on attorney recognition.
The article, Hard Work, Skill and Honesty Do Pay Off, was published in the edition September 4 of The Examiner. An excerpt from the article is below.
I passed the bar exam in May of 1980. Thus, I have been a lawyer for over 41 years. I have been blessed to be partners with some of the best lawyers in Missouri. My first 20 years were spent with the Honorable Michael W. Manners until Mike came to me in 2000 and informed me that he was going to apply for a circuit judgeship. He was a slam dunk to get it, and he was then appointed to be the judge of Division 2 in Independence, about 100 feet from where he practiced law. Mike and I tried a number of cases together. I blame my premature gray hair on Mike, although my father’s hair was the same color in his early 40s.
Mike taught me the value of hard work. No lawyer ever outworked Mike, and he combined supreme intellect with a strong work ethic and phenomenal courtroom skills. He was also one of the best appellate lawyers in the history of Missouri and still handles appeals on significant cases for other lawyers. Mike did not like the medical parts of cases, but I did enjoy handling the medical part and Mike trusted me do so. I had aspired at a young age to be a doctor until I discovered that I was not very good in the sciences, so this was a different way of immersing myself in medicine.
Mike and I have made some great courtroom memories. His ascension to the bench led to my departure to my current firm, and again I landed in a very good place. The last 20 years have been the best years of my legal career. I never looked back, which is no slight to Mike because his judicial appointment ended our days of practicing together.
Shortly after I began practicing law, I received notification from Martindale-Hubbell that I have received a BV rating, which means that I was an excellent attorney. Martindale-Hubbell is an information services company that publishes the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which provides background information on lawyers and law firms in the United States and other countries. The ratings are based on peer review, and we periodically receive requests to review a particular lawyer. The highest rating is AV and I achieved that status a couple of years after my initial rating. An AV rating is the highest recognition and it means that you have strong legal ability and the highest ethical standards. Only 10 percent of all lawyers receive an AV rating, so it is considered prestigious and I was proud to achieve that status.