Career Spotlight: Scott Atwood
by Jason Silver
Scott Atwood Instead of following the big dollar signs, UF Law alum Scott Atwood (JD 95) says becoming a successful, happy attorney is about building relationships with others and being involved in the community.
Atwood currently practices labor, employment and business litigation with Stout Walling Atwood LLC in Atlanta, and runs Scott E. Atwood P.C. in Sarasota.
At UF Law, he served as the editor-in-chief of the Florida Journal of International Law and was a recipient of the President’s Award for outstanding contributions to UF. He also served as secretary of the John Marshall Bar Association and was the editor of the law schools weekly newspaper, The Docket.
“Being so involved in law school prepared me so much for what I do today in my practice,” he said. “Every day I deal with reading, writing and editing. Plus the experience of managing and supervising others was important as well.
He recently was installed as president of the Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division, which represents more than 22,000 members of the Florida Bar. He says being involved in the community adds another dimension to his career.
“I always tell young lawyers how important it is to get involved with something in their community,” he said. “Whether it’s the state bar or any other organization, it will make their careers much more enriching.”
Atwood first worked for a large firm and just recently merged his own firm with two other attorneys. He says starting off with a firm is a good idea, but that he likes being his own boss.
“It makes a lot of sense when you’re first starting out to work for a firm that knows the ropes, and I definitely would not advise starting my own firm out of school,” he said. “There’s lots of pressure running a small firm when it comes to paying the bills, getting clients in the door and being prepared for your current clients as well.”
Being at a smaller firm allows Atwood the chance to create stronger relationships with the people he represents, he said.
“I love that I have a job where I have constant client contact where people rely on me,” Atwood said. “You end up developing strong, trusting relationships, and many of them become my good friends.”
He says the allure of high salaries for new graduates out of law school occasionally steers people the wrong way.
“Sometimes it’s better to take less money and get a better development experience, better life and better surrounding environment,” he said. “Don’t automatically assume the highest paying job is the best.
Now that Atwood runs his own firm, he not only gets to help people with their problems, but is living his dream as well.
“Being a lawyer allows me to help people solve their problems in a way they can’t do on their own, and I like that,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to run my own firm and it allows me to do what I want to do, how I want to do it.”