When you ask Paul Flick where he is from, he laughs and says it’s “a difficult question.” A preacher’s son and one of four kids, Flick’s family moved every five years or so as his father developed new churches across the eastern United States. His father’s work took him from western Maryland, to western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. But despite his family’s frequent moves, Flick admits that North Carolina has always been home. His family has deep roots in Hickory and he chose North Carolina for college, and as Flick admits, “I was an ACC fan so that didn’t hurt.” It was unsurprising, then, when he landed in the Tar Heel State to launch a successful legal career. He has litigated and mediated business cases for more than 30 years, with no plans of slowing down.
“I’ve worked since I was probably in the 7th grade,” Flick says. There wasn’t a single job he wouldn’t try. He mowed lawns, built swimming pools, worked in a lumber yard, ran a table saw in a furniture frame shop, refereed basketball games, waited tables, tended bar, worked in a hotel, and was even an assistant manager at an ice cream shop called Friendly’s. “I had a broad range of experience coming to law school and the practice of law, to have actually been in and out of a lot of different places,” he says.
It was this knowledge base that largely drew Flick to the legal profession. “I was an advocate as a young man,” he says. “My mom might call it something else! I would always argue my case and so there were a lot of people who pushed me in that direction.” A proud “Double-Deacon,” Flick enjoyed seven years at Wake Forest – first for his undergraduate degree and then for law school.
“I am one of those people who did not really enjoy law school, but I’ve really enjoyed being a lawyer,” Flick says. “I like the sense of achievement to handle a case, to have it closed, to know you’ve done your job, and move on to the next puzzle.”
Gentlemanly Legal Practice
Flick spent his first law school summer clerking for prominent Catawba County lawyer Richard Williams, a decision that proved formative for his career. “I think Mr. Williams was the one who taught me the way you should practice law, which is gentlemanly,” Flick says. “That isn’t a gender term – it’s just how he treated people.”
It was the following summer that Flick laid his roots in Raleigh, and it was immediately apparent to him that he would stay. “When I came to Wake Forest and stayed there for 7 years, I was pretty confident that North Carolina was home,” he says. “The Raleigh today is nothing like the Raleigh of 1985, but I would say it has grown in a positive way!”
Flick accepted a summer clerkship with the Raleigh firm Jordan Price, where he was mentored by accomplished lobbyist and founding partner John Jordan. He enjoyed it so much that he accepted an offer to work there after graduation – and stayed there for 30 years. “I continue to have great respect for that firm and I’m sure we will continue our personal and professional relationships going forward,” Flick says.
Although Flick started his career as a lobbyist, he quickly discovered that litigation fit his skill set far better. It was the control he felt in litigation, being able to “play by the rules and have an idea of what the outcome would be” that attracted him to it.
“I think a lot of people forget that we are attorneys and counselors at law,” Flick explains. “I think you need to evaluate the case, develop the strategy, and you owe it to your client to say, ‘I don’t like the cards we are holding and we need to get this resolved,’ or, ‘I do like the cards we are holding and we ought to resolve it favorably.’”
Litigator and Mediator
Flick has leveraged his more than 30 years of legal practice to help his clients resolve their disputes, whether through traditional litigation avenues or alternative routes. For years, he has maintained an active and thriving mediation practice. He has served as a mediator in superior court cases and is a proponent of pre-litigation mediation, helping parties resolve their disputes before turning to the adversarial process.
“I think our profession has gotten too adversarial,” he says of his motivation for starting his mediation practice. “I don’t know if I can put my finger on why that is.” Whether through formal mediations or pre-suit negotiations, Flick cites the amicable, collaborative process of dispute resolution as the most rewarding part of practicing law.
“After you have a meeting that resolves the case, whether signing the settlement agreement, mediation, or your final hearing, when you walk them to the door…I think that’s the moment where if you’ve done your job, and they give you a hug, you’ve done it the way you’re supposed to do it.” But he laughs, “What normally comes after the hug is something like, ‘I hope I never see you again!’” Flick says this is a part of litigation that disappoints him. “We are usually one-and-done with most clients,” he says. “You develop that relationship and try to do what you can to meet their needs in their case, and you may never see them again.” Yet this is precisely what he loves about mediations, as he notes: “You’re working with other lawyers repeatedly and helping them get their matters resolved.”
The Path to Flick Dispute Resolution
Recently, Flick has rebranded his mediation practice as Flick Dispute Resolution, a practice that captures various litigation alternatives. “I think that whatever alternative dispute resolution [practices] you can put in your arsenal is a benefit to your client base,” Flick explains. “There are lots of alternative dispute resolution solutions we ought to explore before we head off to the courthouse.”
In May, Flick left Jordan Price to join Jason Miller, Jeff Monroe, and William Plyler – partners whose experience spans commercial litigation, fiduciary litigation, and high-profile personal injury and wrongful death cases. What started as a post-mediation conversation over barbecue sandwiches eventually morphed into an exciting partnership: one that will allow Flick to grow his dispute resolution brand while still litigating commercial cases.
“The guys over here at Miller Monroe & Plyler have given me an opportunity to promote a growing mediation practice,” Flick says. “I’m continuing to grow that mediation practice, but I don’t want to give up my litigation practice. This move has given me the opportunity to follow those two paths.”
Flick, Miller, and Monroe have enjoyed a collaborative relationship for the past eight years. Flick mediated cases for Miller and Monroe, and they frequently referred business to one another. “We can trust the way we handle our clients and practice law,” he says. “Each of these lawyers has broad experience and we can talk through cases together.” Flick notes the size of the firm excites him because it allows for a more unique client experience. “It gives us the ability to handle things the way we want to,” something that he says allows for a more client-driven and practical approach.
“These guys are a well-respected civil litigation team,” Flick says. “I really enjoy the idea of being part of that team and working in a collaborative effort.”
Click here to learn more about Paul Flick.
About Miller Monroe & Plyler
Miller Monroe & Plyler is a boutique litigation firm located in Raleigh, North Carolina. We represent a wide range of clients – from public companies to local businesses and individuals – in a variety of civil disputes.
Our commercial litigation team has the right combination of business and legal experience to guide you through a complex and an often daunting litigation process. We work creatively to find solutions to complicated legal challenges, and when it matters most, we are willing to dig in and fight for our clients. Our attorneys have experience representing clients in the construction, financial services, information technology, health care, manufacturing, education, and real estate industries. Because we have experience navigating complex business issues, marketing strategies, and management challenges, the attorneys at Miller Monroe & Plyler can offer legal advice in the context of your business’ particular needs.
Our personal injury and products liability litigators have extensive in-court litigation experience and will not shy away from a fight. When you or someone you love is permanently or seriously injured, it is critical to hire an experienced attorney who can guide you through the claims process and file a lawsuit if necessary. Having a knowledgeable, aggressive advocate in your corner can make all the difference in a case.
High quality representation. Competitive fees. Unwavering honesty with our clients, the court, and our opposition. Community engagement. Attorney accessibility. These are the core tenets of Miller Monroe & Plyler.