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Belief in Change: Greenberg Traurig’s Ernest LaMont Greer challenges the status quo, in the office and out of it.

When Ernest LaMont Greer first assisted in litigation work during summer clerkships at top law firms Armstrong Teasdale, Skadden Arps, and Alston & Bird, he realized fairly quickly that he patently wanted nothing to do with litigation. Instead, he felt a calling to do corporate work. Yet today, Greer is co-president of Greenberg Traurig, a global law firm with more than 1,900 attorneys in nine countries, and one of Atlanta’s prominent litigators. He previously served as managing shareholder of the firm’s Atlanta office and co-chair of the firm’s U.S. strategic committee—all of which implies the younger Mr. Greer had spoken too soon.

Even before Greer rebuffed the initial idea of litigation, he balked at the prospect of law school at all. He declined a full-tuition-paid offer to attend law school at Washington University in St. Louis, because they would not let him defer his admission for a year. Later, Greer accepted an offer of full tuition and a stipend from Northwestern University, an offer that just made sense—dollars and cents. Greer says, “My original intent was to go to law school, then enroll in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. But in the meantime, I got married, my wife enrolled there, and she was in business school with new friends….” So stick with the law he did, and the professional legal world saw the birth of one of its most talented attorneys.

In 1992, the Harvard University and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law graduate was a clerk for Hon. Damon J. Keith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and noticed that in the corporate law game, a solo practitioner’s chances were slim. With his eye on the prize of being able to best serve his future and that of his family, he once again turned to litigation, and he hasn’t looked back since.

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