Appellate Attorney Gray R. Proctor
From Small Claims Court to the Supreme Court
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Why hire me?

Why choose me for your appeal? 

Because this guy needs music lessons.

Just kidding. 

My boy's a natural genius.  Lessons would just slow him down.  

But in all seriousness ...  

One person is all it takes.  

At trial, they can try to drown you in paperwork.  Endless motions.  Oppressive discovery requests.  Pointless hearings. 

Not on appeal.  There's no busywork to give to a junior associate.  No filler.  You have 50 pages to make your point; sometimes, you also have 30 minutes.  It doesn't get done by committee.  It takes personal attention and ability.  

... I'm no joke.

I've got the talent, training, and experience to take on the other side, whoever they are. 

With apologies to Saul Goodman, I didn't go to University of American Samoa.  I graduated from Vanderbilt University.  Take a look at the U.S. News Rankings of America's 203 law schools and compare Vanderbilt (# 17) to the schools my competitors attended.  From the start I was competing with the best.  

And I didn't get my experience in a high-turnover litigation factory or try to hang out my shingle straight from law school.  I went into the big-league competition.  I beat out the best new lawyers in the country and  spent five years working for federal judges, delivering the highest-quality writing for court orders in the district courts and on appeal.  

And when I did go out on my own, I did it my way.  I limited myself to the criminal appeals and postconviction cases I was most qualified to do.  And in short order I was working with Susan Fox, Board Certified Appellate Specialist, in addition to my own criminal practice.  And what do you know?  Not too long ago, I beat former Florida Supreme Court justice Kenneth Bell in a high-stakes case, and made sure that Florida homeowners really own their insurance benefits.  

You can see my other wins on the Briefs and Articles page.  You can also see my losses, and ask yourself whether I did my job.  

I'm just not for sale to the highest bidder.

I didn't endure three years of misery in law school to be miserable for the rest of my life.  I would never settle for being a cog in the money-making machine of a big law firm.   I don't have to take bad clients or bad causes.  (They are not always the same thing!)

Trial lawyers know, if you want to lie to someone else, start by lying to yourself.  Laywer Maxwell Kennerly explained that "Loyalty and zealous advocacy pay the bills, and if lawyers really invest themselves emotionally, financially, and philosophically in their clients’ clause, then of course some lawyers will not even see the line drawn in the sand, the liar line, when they cross it."  When you knowingly take the wrong side, you have to sabotage your B.S. detector.  A lawyer with a broken B.S. detector makes ridiculous arguments that fool no one. Because I don't take cases I don't believe in, I can be objective and fair enough to persuade a justice, not just a jury.  

If you want to see examples of my work, you'll find them on the Briefs and Articles page.

My resume is below.  And after that, you can learn a little about me as a person.

 

Pretentious words can’t hide the lack of substance.
— Supreme Court of North Dakota, available at https://www.ndcourts.gov/court/Filing/Tips.htm
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
— Clare Boothe Luce
The appellate practitioner requires the imagination and intuition of the artist, the discipline and logic of the scientist, the design sense of the architect, and the expertise in human perception of the psychologist. But most importantly he must be able to view the overall problem through the eyes of appellate judges and manifest qualities of overview, objectivity, and fairness.
— Hon. Sarah B. Duncan, Justice, Texas Fourth Court of Appeals
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate having the chance to make a difference in the world. But that’s all I get, a chance. Ultimately somebody else decides whether I win, and sometimes nothing I do makes a difference. I couldn’t do my job if I didn’t think it was fun, win or lose.
— Gray R. Proctor, Esq.

Education

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY
Juris Doctor, 2007

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND M.A., Linguistics, 2004

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
B.S. in Economics, 1998

Activities & Affiliations

• Bloomberg BNA Criminal Law Reporter, Advisory Board
• Assistant Editor, The Record (Journal of the Appellate Practice Section of the Florida Bar)
• Editor, Pro Se Litigant Handbook

Bar Admissions

• Florida, federal appellate courts, Supreme Court

 

And just a bit about me.

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I didn't get where I am through connections or wealth.  I went to public schools in southeast Georgia.  I literally grew up on a farm.  But I went to University of Texas on a full ride, and lived in New Zealand for a year, and got my master's degree while I taught English in China.

Partly, I got lucky,  I have a great brain, one of the best.  And I know words.  I have the best words.

But I also I worked hard and took chances.  And I kept taking chances until I realized I'm not afraid to have the law practice I want and stay human while I do it.  

These are some things I like:

Music:  Old-school east coast rap.  Indie rock.  Jazz.  Alternative from mid-80s to 2007.  Woodie Guthrie.

Food:  Keto, paleo.  Indian food.  Barbecue - Buz and Ned's has the best ribs in the world.  Real Chinese food.  

Drinks:  Bourbon.  Scotch.  Beer.

Other stuff:  Absurdity, especially in animation (think Aqua Teen and Rick and Morty).  Howard Zinn.  Forest Hill Park.

These are some things I don't:

Lies.  And damned lies.  I like statistics, though.

Bragging.  If you read this far you might care:  the real reason I put my son on this page is that if I didn't think about his future, I couldn't make my own best case.  I'm much more comfortable arguing on your behalf than on my own.

Chinese food that tastes like ketchup.

People who treat me differently when I wear a suit.

Attorneys who give the profession a bad name.

Attorneys who count blog posts and editorials as publications on their web sites.