PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas July:August 2022

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LEE BUDNER GETTING TO KNOW PAPERCITY ADVERTORIAL DALLAS' NEW VOICE OF FAMILY LAW Lee Budner I n a career pivot, Lee B u d n e r b r i n g s h i s b a c k g r o u n d a s a commercial litigator to family court. Budner thrives in the high-stakes, high-conflict environment of the courtroom and has nearly a decade of experience under his belt. Before he joined Calabrese Budner, he sharpened his skills as a commercial litigator at a large national law firm and two elite Dallas litigation boutique firms. Budner has represented clients on both sides of the aisle in business disputes with hundreds of millions of dollars in controversy. This experience enables him to effectively navigate complex property matters and highly sensitive custody issues for his family law clients. Here, we learn more about Budner's legal practice and why his unique approach to family law and divorce is attracting many clients. With his emphasis on strategic thinking and first-class service, he's quickly becoming Dallas' fresh voice of family law. How has your past experience prepared you for a Dallas divorce practice? Lee Budner: I spent the first eight years of my career as a commercial litigation attorney at prominent Dallas firms. I cut my teeth on big-dollar cases involving complex legal disputes between highly sophisticated parties. I represented a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, banks, hedge funds, business owners, and C-suite executives. During that time, however, I also worked on family law matters for some of our commercial clients. When I told my colleagues, friends, and family I was leaving commercial litigation and starting a career as a full-time family law attorney, I got the same question over and over: Why would you want to do that? The reason is simple: client impact. I wanted to use the perspective and tools I learned as a commercial litigator to impact people's lives more directly. Three key touchpoints of my training have enhanced my family law practice: strategic thinking, first- class service, and preparation and professionalism. When did it occur to you that you may want to focus on family law? LB: Very early in my commercial litigation practice, I worked on a very contentious, high-dollar divorce case. That case was particularly complex and went all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court (and resulted very favorably for our client). In the years after that case, I kept thinking: 'I'd love to do this for others.' I'm a firm believer that high-quality legal representation should be available to people. Husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers are entitled to first-rate representation, not just companies with big legal budgets. I wanted to bring that level of legal services to family law. So, how do you think strategic thinking impacts a family law case? LB: I often see a lack of strategic thinking manifest in two ways. First, autopilot. Lack of strategic thinking causes a lawyer to treat each case the same, working through it with little attention to its uniqueness and complexity. In doing so, a lawyer risks missing the opportunity to create an advantage or find a solution for their client. The lawyer on autopilot is not going to find the devil in the details, and they won't find creative solutions to difficult problems. Second, reactivity. Lack of strategic thinking causes a lawyer to react — whether it be to a new development, ruling by the court, or action by opposing counsel — without fully thinking through the consequences of that reaction. Often a lawyer's initial reaction to being confronted with 64

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