SPOTLIGHT ON: DANIELLE DANN
School is closed and the pool is open. It’s got the longest day of the year and tons of sunshine for vacations, camps, or a trip to the beach. Yes, June has it all . . . just like Danielle Dann, the most indispensable person in our firm.
Backstory: I grew up in Franklin, Virginia (not to be confused with Franklin County, VA). I have worked at the firm since the doors opened in 2012 and with Kim at our prior firm since 2001. I am married with 3 children and one really obnoxious golden retriever. I enjoy home improvement projects, crafts and watching my kids play a variety of sports.
When I was a kid I wanted to be . . . a lawyer!
Favorite movies: Good Will Hunting, The Princess Bride and Meet Joe Black
Favorite artist/group: Matchbox 20
Thing(s) I can’t believe happened since the firm opened 10 yrs ago: First, I can’t believe it has been 10 years! I was honored to help open the doors in 2012. We are now 10 years into this journey, have survived start up, two office moves and a global pandemic all while still growing as a Firm. I am very proud of the firm’s accomplishments in the past decade and am excited to see what is still yet to come.
Worst job I ever had: My dad worked for a paper mill from high school until he retired. During college, he made sure I took advantage of their program of hiring the children of employees during the summer. At the time I thought this was a great way to make big bucks to get me through the next semester. I worked long hours and overnight shifts in the sheet finishing division (stacking paper) for one summer and two summers in the pulp mill as a millwright’s helper. I carried heavy toolboxes and helped repair, shim and change out pumps on the boilers and in the lime kilns. It was a hot and dirty job and I happily returned to college at the end of each summer. On the upside, it was a great experience that helped launch my legal career with a job in asbestos litigation years later.
If I wasn’t doing this, I’d rather be . . . .retired on a beach listening to waves crash.
Best trial story: “Best” or “most infamous”? While defending a cardiac surgeon in a medmal case, we broke for lunch. I went out to grab lunch for the team and came back to find EMS on site strapping one of the attorneys to a gurney and the defendant doctor rolling him out and riding shotgun to the hospital. Over the past 20 years, I have been in trial at least 50 times (if not more) so there are lots of “best” stories in the vault!
Best life story: “Best” might be a stretch….After college and on a whim, I packed up my stuff and just drove until I found a place I liked. I landed in Charleston, SC for several years. When I decided to move back to Virginia, I packed my apartment in a U-Haul trailer and hit the road. By chance fate, my college roommate was in town picking up a wedding dress with a friend and was willing to tow the U-Haul back to Richmond. We pulled out of Charleston around 8pm and all went well until we crossed the Virginia state line. The U-Haul trailer lifted off my friend’s Jeep in front of me and was fishtailing across the interstate by the chains. We somehow survived and managed to avoid an accident or any injuries. The tow truck driver (ironically named “Bubba”) who came to help offered us a place to sleep for the night at his home nearby. We declined. This became a “life” story for me and a wedding nightmare for someone else.
Biggest mistake that didn’t come back to bite me: The oversized timeline exhibit board I ordered for one of our trials in the first year of firm. We wanted it to be large enough for the jurors to read…..it was too large to fit on an elevator and came with a price tag of $12,000. I wasn't fired so I considered it a “didn’t come back to bite me” moment.
Best advice you’ve ever received: You are only as good or as bad as the moment you are in. Today’s successes don’t ensure tomorrow's. By the same token, today’s failures don’t impede success later.
Inside scoop: Paralegal, office manager, copy machine whisperer, the person who knows where “that cord I need” is, computer crash fixer - to say Danielle wears many hats is an understatement. During a recent visit to the office, Danielle’s daughter observed “everyone sure does come to you with a lot of questions.” While Danielle is clearly the Firm Fixer, her ability to see around corners and avoid problems is invaluable. We will probably never know how many disruptions Danielle prevents daily. The fact she does all this is amazing. The fact she does it so skillfully and professionally while maintaining her fantastic wit and sense of humor is exceptional. She is an integral part of every aspect of our practice and truly is the glue that holds us together.