Christopher M. Cobb

christopher-cobb

 

An Evolving Practice – One For All

AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?

Cobb: The first time I remember saying I wanted to be an attorney was when I participated in my high school mock trial competition and impeached a witness on the stand in the final trial competition. I remember thinking that was fun and the circuit judge who presided over the event gave me a one sentence post-trial review and simply said, “You need to go to law school.”

AALM: Do you have any mentors or professors that encouraged you along the way?

Cobb: Absolutely. My father has been an attorney for 37 years so I grew up hearing about and attending his depositions and trials. I still call him to this day. My primary work mentors were James A. Bledsoe Jr. and The Honorable Gary Wilkinson. Jim and Gary took the time to teach me how to practice law from the initial client interview to trial, and through appeal. More importantly, they exhibited pure professionalism when advocating for their clients. I learned by watching them work, but they also took time to teach and mentor. The mentorship was priceless.

AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about being an attorney?

Cobb: At first, the competitor in me just enjoyed the adversarial nature of litigation. I was satisfied preparing arguments on technical areas of law like construction liens and licensing. I also enjoy the technical discussion in my construction defect cases. As I have matured as a professional, my satisfaction comes from watching the law firm grow and its lawyers achieve. I like watching the younger lawyers I mentor compete and mature as professionals.

AALM: How would you describe the culture of the firm?

Cobb: Work hard, have fun. The culture we have created is a collective effort. The firm has an events committee made up of both lawyers and staff that come up with fun ideas and internal competitions. We have an annual “learn to surf” event, and an annual in office putt-putt golf tournament. We celebrate funny holidays each month and the events committee tracks results for these events toward the firm cup called “The Jimerson-Cobblet.” The firm has been recognized locally and on a statewide level as one of the best places to work in Florida. We want people smiling.

AALM: Tell us about your fellow attorneys at the firm? How do you work together?

Cobb: Charlie Jimerson and I have a long and extensive work history. We share the same work ethic and business vision. He is a master at firm management and development. The best thing about our partnership is that we continue to learn from each other every day. I have known Joby Birr for most of my life and we went to college together. His mother was my high school English teacher and is the one who pushed me to get my degree in literature. With everyone else, the relationship is built on trust and clearly defined expectations. Everyone at the firm knows their role and performs at a very high level. The lawyers and staff at the firm are an incredible team and work amazingly well together.

AALM: What case most defined or redefined your practice?

Cobb: Whether I am representing a contractor, developer, material supplier or owner, multiparty construction payment and defect cases seem to best define my practice. I am involved in an increasing number of large scale condominium construction defect matters. The experience with condominium construction litigation has resulted in the development of a growing community association practice where we service the everyday needs of community associations throughout the state of Florida from board elections to assessment collections. I am also developing into a resource on construction licensing because of my role on the construction industry licensing board.

AALM: What accomplishment are you most proud of achieving?

Cobb: When I was in law school, I received a call from the Montreal Expos International Baseball Organization and they asked me to leave law school to play minor league baseball. The administration at Florida Coastal School of Law thought that was an opportunity I could not pass on and allowed me to leave law school to pursue my dream of playing professional sports. Aft er a year playing minor league baseball, reality sank in and I made the choice to return to law school. I reflect and draw on the lessons I learned during my baseball experience every day.

AALM: What events are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

Cobb: In 2012, I was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB). I am about to take over as the chairman of the CILB in 2017. Being asked to serve the people of Florida in this capacity has been incredibly fulfilling and humbling.