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Up & Coming Honorees: J.J. Burns, 34

Partner, Dollar Burns & Becker, Kansas City

jj-burnsPractice Areas: Truck-crash litigation, personal injury, wrongful death

Law School: University of Michigan

J.J. Burns was inspired to become a lawyer by seeing his father interact with his clients.

“The idea that I might be able to pair that humanity with intellectual inquiry, problem-solving and rhetoric was incredibly appealing,” he said.

Although it’s hard for him to pin down a favorite moment as an attorney, he said pulling off a perfect line of questions in a deposition or cross-examination is rewarding.

Burns said his biggest accomplishment this year has been a Texas truck-crash case in which a jury awarded his client a hefty verdict. The case had been litigated for four years, and the parties had little pretrial negotiation. “It was an incredibly complicated case, but after a three-and-a-half-week trial, the jury awarded our clients $39 million,” he said.

What advice do you have for young lawyers?

Find some interesting trials on a court’s calendar and go sit through them. Get a small case, work it up and dare the other side to try it against you.

What is the best career advice you have received?

“Have fun, be careful and help others.” — My dad.

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