James “Mac” Stuckey
Undergrad? IRSC in Fort Pierce, and FAU in Boca Raton Law School? Notre Dame Law
How long have you been practicing law?
Since November 1977.
Why did you want to be an attorney?
Didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up (still don’t) and a law degree gave me lots of options. My original career choices of a newspaper reporter and English teacher were unbelievably under-compensated (still are), and I wanted to be able to help people but make a good living doing it.
What do you like most about it?
The freedom it gives me to work for good people and make a difference in my community.
What don’t you like?
The adversarial system which takes years to resolve issues and costs too much to solve any problem. If we could just admit the truths and not have to advocate half-truths, we could reach solutions while they still matter and before the client runs out of money.
What are the biggest changes you have seen through the years?
Other than technology, which may be the cause of my answer, the decline of cooperation, honesty, and civility among the members of the bar.
How do you define success?
Waking up in the morning and having that matter to other people besides myself.
Who Inspires you?
Historically, Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. Personally, my wife, Dr. Kendra Brown, and both my children, Erin and Taylor.
Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Nobody in my family has ever been a lawyer, but I suppose it was my grandmother, Blanche Gallman Stuckey, who always told me I could do anything I wanted to do if I was honest and worked hard.
If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose?
I am assuming you mean someone still living; I have had many who are not, including Norris Tilton who always told me my clients were all crooks. Since this is fantasy, I choose Chief Justice John Roberts.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Actually, from the movie Rudy, where the Priest tells Rudy, “I only know two things for sure: There is a God, and I’m not him.”
What advice would you give to someone looking to become an attorney?
Talk to lots of attorneys before you go to law school and do not expect to love law school or even the first five years of practice but, when you get a little experience, it should be the best thing you could ever do, or you can do something else exciting with your law degree.
If you weren’t an attorney, what would you be doing?
Probably a journalist or college professor.
If you could switch places with someone for a day, who would it be?
If time travel was an option, probably Thomas Jefferson. If they must be alive today, probably Bill Gates; I would try to give all his money away that day to save the River.
What’s on your bucket list?
Fishing in the Hemingway Marlin tournament.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Probably Hawaii or Tahiti.
If you could have dinner with any person, alive, dead or fictional, who would it be and where would you go?
Ernest Hemingway at the best restaurant in Paris.
What is something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know about you?
When I was in college, The Stuart News gave me a press pass to attend rock music festivals and plays and write articles about them. Two things: I rode on a helicopter with Janis Joplin during the Palm Beach Pop Festival in 1969 in order to interview her on the way to perform, and I interviewed the cast of “Hair” in Miami after their performance, and they were all in the nude. Boy, was it hard to keep eye contact.