Doug Wright had no intention of becoming a lawyer. Now, he’s one of the youngest partners at Holland & Knight, where he serves as the international trade policy leader and regularly represents clients in high-stakes litigation. From his nontraditional path to law school to his advice on how law students can get ahead in their careers, doug wright Holland and knight and tells it like it is on why he thinks law school is worth it and what he says to aspiring lawyers considering going into business instead of practicing law full-time.
What drew me to practicing law
In elementary school, my teacher had a bookcase filled with books. One day I read a book that started out Once upon a time… And I loved it! I was hooked on stories, and when we got to the end of the story, I wanted to know what happened next. So the teacher suggested that maybe I might want to be an author when I grew up. But by high school and college, there were many other subjects for me to explore. So after college, I found myself in law school. Now that is one way Doug Wright would have predicted his life going!
Doug Wright spent his early career at white-shoe law firms like Hughes Hubbard Mott Lilly and Shearman Sterling before joining Holland & Knight in 2004 as a partner.
What I do for the firm
I know what it’s like to live and work outside the lines. Before I became a lawyer, I was arrested and charged with a felony drug offense before enrolling in law school. I joined the military, and my dreams of becoming an officer died. When my commanding officer reprimanded me for being late to morning formation five times. But no one who looked like me had ever been promoted to general, and that just wasn’t going to cut it for me. So, I left the Army and enrolled in law school, knowing. There were doors open to lawyers that were closed for people. Who looked like me before. Now I help other former wrongdoers get their lives back on track by using the law as a gateway — an alternative route out of poverty.
What I enjoy about the work I do
I enjoy being a partner at Holland & Knight because it is such a great firm to work for. I like working with people and getting to know different kinds of businesses. My favorite part of my job is helping others find solutions. I enjoy being able to figure out a plan that will be beneficial for the client and doing what I can to help them implement it on their end. Outside of work, I have two kids that keep me pretty busy, but they are awesome!
Doug Wright joined Holland & Knight in 2015 as a partner in the transactional group of the Miami office after practicing law for nearly 20 years with Miami’s law firms Furth David Hersheson and Steel Hector Amado PA.
Why you should consider joining the firm (as an Associate)
You want to create impactful change in your career. You want to learn from the best of the best. I have want to be challenged with legal problems and their many solutions. Committed to working hard, striving for excellence, and becoming a standout lawyer.
Doug Wright’s story is remarkable- he spent 20 years as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles before switching to criminal defense work when he joined H&K’s LA office in 1991.
My favorite part of being a lawyer
Doug wright joined holland and knight in 2012 as the chief administrative officer, and he had to go through all the training first-hand. He says that one of his favorite parts about being a lawyer is that you’re always doing something new. He also enjoys being able to spend time with his family by not having any late nights at the office. Doug wright sees all his work as an opportunity for him to do something he never thought he would do.
Where I see myself ten years from now
Doug Wright, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of SeaWorld Entertainment. Inc., is a good example of how one person can come from humble beginnings and find. Their way to the top through hard work and discipline. Although Doug had always excelled academically and was offered a full scholarship to play football at the University of Kentucky, he never knew if he would be able to afford it. Instead, he turned down the scholarship offer in order to take out loans for school. Upon graduating with his law degree in 1979. Doug worked for less than two years before being laid off during a downsizing event—forcing him to rethink what he should do next.
Doug Wright, a self-proclaimed accidental lawyer, and partner with Holland & Knight law firm, never imagined he would find his way to the large law firm. Throughout his academic career, Doug served in various positions for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate after spending time as a securities analyst with Merrill Lynch.