Beginning this month, Defense Line will spotlight a member of the VADA whose contributions to VADA and the defense bar help further VADA’s mission of promoting excellence in civil litigation. This month’s spotlighted member is Matt Kelley of Frith Anderson & Peake, P.C., in Roanoke. Matt is a past chair of the VADA’s Medical Malpractice Section. He currently serves as the Southwest Regional Director on the VADA’s Board of Directors.
1. Where were you born?
2. Spouse? Children? Pets?
My wife Beth and I have three children, two of whom are 4 year old twins. We also have two opinionated house cats.
3. What type of law do you practice?
Medical malpractice defense and intellectual property.
4. How long have you been a member of VADA?
5. What was your favorite subject in school?
Biology. I am a recovering nerd.
6. What is your favorite book?
As a father of three children, I found Drew McGarry’s book Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood to be very funny. It captures my day to day at home pretty well.
7. What was your first job?
Bagging groceries for Ukrop’s in Richmond, Virginia. (R.I.P. Ukrop’s.)
8. If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?
Jerry Seinfeld, though I am more than a little afraid of the observational humor he would unleash after meeting me.
9. What’s the most challenging thing about practicing law?
Lately, it has been convincing my partner Walt Peake that you can wear a sweater to the office without a collared shirt underneath. Longer term, it is balancing the time demands of client sevice and trials against being home for family events.
10. What is the last concert you attended?
Kenny Chesney – with a shirt, shoes, and problems, though.
11. What have you enjoyed most about your time in VADA?
The collegiality. I have learned so much from the other members as I developed my defense practice. I am continuously surprised at how willing everyone is to discuss cases and trial tactics.
12. When I am not at the office, I like to …
I know it is a bit cliché, but, when I am not at the office, I like to spend time with my family. We do a yearly beach trip with my family and my wife’s family (in the same house, gasp). It is a highlight every year.
13. Do you have a favorite movie quote?
So many from The Big Lebowski, but the most applicable to my legal practice has to be:
“This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, lotta what-have-you’s.” — The Dude
(Don’t let it get out to the plaintiff’s bar, but if you change “Maude” to “ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” it doubles as my opening statement in medical malpractice cases.)
14. What is your favorite sports team?
The Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals.
15. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Terrible action movies. The more unrealistic and the bigger the plot holes, the better.
16. If I wasn’t practicing law, I would be …
17. Favorite travel spot?
New Zealand. I went there after taking the bar exam. It was a fantastic place to visit.
18. What advice would you give someone who just passed the bar?
Your legal practice will be full of ups and downs, sometimes dramatically so. Try to remember that you are never as bad a lawyer as you feel on your worst day and you are never as good a lawyer as you feel on your best day. You’re always somewhere in between.
19. What is your definition of success?
Looking at my time sheet at the end of the day and seeing I managed to capture my entire day in six minute intervals. I had loftier goals in high school.
Email Amy Gilbody at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to recommend a member (or yourself) for a future "Member Spotlight."