From the Litigation Practice.

The Semmes Spotlight: A Q&A with the Illustrious Semmes Attorney Paul Farquharson

January, 2024  | By Simone T. Fair

Paul FarquharsonAttorney Simone Fair sat down with principal Paul Farquharson for a wide-ranging conversation about everything from his interest in the law to his taste in literature to the superpower he would most like to have.

Q: What led you to specialize in litigation?
Farquharson: That was my vision of what lawyers did. That lawyers litigate and lawyers try cases.

Q: If you could choose a fictional lawyer to join the firm, who would it be and why?
Farquharson: The Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick played by Julianna Margulies. She brings a unique background to the practice of law, and because of that background, she’s connected enough to get really interesting cases.

Q: How did you end up at Semmes?
Farquharson: Following law school and an ROTC scholarship, I was working at Semmes as a law clerk while waiting for my position in Charlottesville. However, I had to be medically discharged following a rough sports game, and Semmes let me stay on.

Q: What compelled you to become a lawyer?
Farquharson: I was just one of those people that was told I would be a good lawyer. I liked to argue and explore different ideas.

Q: What’s the last book you read?
Farquharson: I’m currently reading three, but one is The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt, which I have not yet finished.

It’s about the discovery of an ancient Roman poem, Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, and how under this author’s theory, it was this discovery, this huge swerve, that led to the Renaissance.

It was interesting during this time period of finding the manuscript that the author writes about. There were book hunters going to monasteries and libraries, searching for lost ancient texts. And this manuscript find preserved an ancient way of thinking.

Q: There are many different superpowers, but which would be best for a lawyer and why?
Farquharson: Wonder Woman’s truth lasso: Because the truth shall set you free.

Q: What’s something about you that not many people know?
Farquhrson: I really like coaching youth lacrosse. I played lacrosse in high school and club lacrosse in college.

Q: What’s an interesting or surprising legal fact that you’ve come across?
Farquharson: A legal fact that many do not recognize is that the right to own guns stems from the Fourteenth Amendment and not actually the Second Amendment. Prior to the Fourteenth Amendment, states did and were allowed to control guns any way they saw fit. It wasn’t until the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment and selective incorporation that the U.S. Supreme Court said that the Second Amendment was guaranteed under state law.

Q: What is your favorite part about the law?
Farquharson: Winning.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring lawyers?
Farquharson: Congratulate your adversary on their victory and then win the appeal.

Q:What is your favorite quote?
Farquharson: Whisky won’t cure what ails ye, but it fails more admirably than all else.