In a legislation profession spanning approximately 30 yrs, lawyer Christy Comstock turned just one of Arkansas’ most formidable trucking protection lawyers — if not the nation.
“She experienced a national subsequent in transportation legislation,” said Fayetteville attorney Robert L. (Bobby) Jones III, a companion at Conner & Winters whom Comstock considers a person of her important mentors.
But Comstock experienced always needed to be a choose, inspired by federal clerkships early in her occupation.
Previously this year, Comstock recognized that ambition when the U.S. District Courtroom for the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith appointed her a federal magistrate decide. The 8-calendar year appointment, declared by Chief Decide Susan Hickey of the Western District, started out Could 1.
With approximately 3 million citizens, Arkansas has two federal districts, nine justice of the peace judges and 11 district judges. Comstock serves in the Western District’s Fayetteville Division, which has offices in the John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Creating. Two other federal justice of the peace judges are in the Western District — 1 in Fort Smith, Chief Magistrate Judge Mark Ford, and 1 in Texarkana, Justice of the peace Choose Barry Bryant.
According to the federal public see, the responsibilities of a federal justice of the peace judge include things like presiding around original proceedings in criminal circumstances, trials of misdemeanor circumstances, pretrial issues and other proceedings in civil and felony circumstances, conducting civil settlement conferences and disposition of civil instances.
The courtroom approved purposes for the work from June 8, 2020, through Aug. 7, 2020. A advantage assortment panel composed of attorneys and other neighborhood users reviewed candidates and suggested to the district judges the five finalists it viewed as the greatest experienced. After an in depth track record check out, they chose Comstock.
Comstock explained she had under no circumstances used ahead of but thought of the timing proper at this place in her career.
“If I was going to make the leap, this was the time to do it,” she reported. “I will be 55 [this year], and I’ve always preferred to be a decide at any time considering that I was a model-new little one attorney. It has constantly been a aim.”
Comstock changed Magistrate Decide Erin L. Wiedemann, who retired.
Doctor OR Lawyer
Comstock’s mantra about her occupation is to do the job more durable than your opponent. In accordance to those who know her, which is constantly been obvious.
“She is incredibly clever and extremely well-informed about a ton of regulation regions,” explained Fayetteville lawyer Jason Wales, who labored with Comstock for 14 years right until her appointment to the bench. “But she worked more difficult than anyone I have at any time observed. She’s incredibly tenacious and proud of her function products and gave 100% to make guaranteed she did anything to the finest of her capability. And her means exceeded most lawyers.”
Wales was presently doing work with Fayetteville lawyer John Everett, just one of the state’s top trial attorneys, when Everett hired Comstock in 2007. They used 10 a long time with each other before Wales and Comstock left to commence their organization.
“John Everett hired me over the weekend, and the next 7 days he stated to Jason, ‘Here’s your new regulation spouse,” Comstock recalled. “We all experienced a great 10 years together. There is no much better teacher than John Everett. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. And Jason and I got together magnificently. We never ever had a cross phrase in 14 several years. And I do miss out on him. This work would be the only position that would induce me to depart that partnership.”
The oldest of four young children, Comstock grew up in rural Sebastian County and graduated from Mansfield Large School. Her father was an electrician, and her mother was a public college teacher.
When normally collected all around the kitchen table as a spouse and children, Comstock recalled her parents’ oft-repeated profession assistance that she could both be a health care provider or a lawyer.
“They reported that so numerous moments that I just kind of took it for granted,” Comstock recalled. “I imagined it was serious but later realized they ended up jesting. But at some level when I was a child, in my intellect, I understood I didn’t want to be a physician. So in this article I am.”
Comstock graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas in 1989 with an economics degree. She acquired a Juris Health care provider with substantial honors from the UA Faculty of Legislation in 1992, the place she was be aware and remark editor of the Arkansas Legislation Evaluation.
Comstock’s target on transportation-similar litigation begun promptly. Though doing work for Jones Gilbreath Jackson & Moll in Fort Smith in the course of the mid-1990s, she recalled assisting Bob Jones III on her very to start with circumstance, defending a transportation firm.
“A load of bees experienced overturned on old Freeway 71 in the vicinity of Mountainburg and virtually stung a gentleman to death,” she claimed. “I was fascinated with transportation after that.”
Comstock worked for Jones and with Jones for the duration of her occupation.
“I’ve recognised Christy given that she was nevertheless in regulation college,” Jones mentioned. “She functions difficult. She’ll make a wonderful judge simply because she will be far better geared up than the lawyers that occur right before her.”
As for the bee circumstance?
“People exchanged revenue, and the guy who was stung at last obtained much better,” Comstock stated.
‘A Wonderful COLLEAGUE’
Comstock said Arkansas’ legal neighborhood is quite collegial, and she’ll pass up that. She’ll also miss some of the clientele she labored with and connections created all through a adorned vocation.
In 2005, she founded the yearly Arkansas Trucking Seminar. In the transportation industry, it’s viewed as a leading accumulating, attracting experts from the U.S. and Canada every single 12 months to Northwest Arkansas. The occasion focuses on educating and networking trucking and transportation stakeholders concerning litigation and company practices that have an effect on the sector.
The final in-human being event just before the pandemic welcomed additional than 700 attendees.
“Her ascension to the bench leaves a major hole for Arkansas trucking companies who relied intensely on her expertise,” stated Rogers legal professional Marshall Ney, a companion with Friday, Eldredge & Clark. “But we’re getting a new magistrate with the intellect and temperament essential to execute the work extremely nicely.”
Ney identified as Comstock a excellent colleague in private apply and a precious member of the neighborhood bar.
“I just can’t recall at any time getting the option to work the very same aspect of a scenario with her, but we had many circumstances as adversaries,” he explained. “She was vigilant for clientele but generally was client, affordable and very nice. She was a correct pleasure to have throughout the desk.
“Judge Wiedemann’s retirement remaining huge sneakers to fill, but if everyone can fill them, it’s Christy Comstock.”
Comstock would be able to find reappointment to the bench in 2029. She mentioned a return to law observe is not very likely.
“I’d be stunned [if that was the case],” she mentioned with a grin. “This is a really wonderful gig. I instructed Choose [Tim] Brooks the initial 7 days on the position, ‘I can browse as significantly regulation as I want to. I can get as a lot time as I want to make a great decision.’ That is a luxury you really don’t have in non-public follow. It is a different type of hectic.”
Brooks, a longtime Fayetteville legal professional appointed a federal decide in 2013 by President Barack Obama, reported he’s known Comstock considering the fact that the 1990s when she clerked for the Western District. He claimed most of his memories of Comstock are from her times doing the job with Everett and Wales.
“That was one particular of the finest firms in Northwest Arkansas,” he stated.
Brooks claimed Comstock was usually at the leading of his referral list when they have been each lawyers when his organization had a conflict for the reason that he knew she would deliver the maximum good quality authorized representation feasible.
“Christy is known for staying really smart, but a ton of attorneys are sensible,” Brooks explained. “Her intelligence, while, was matched with her knowledge from operating in chambers. The ensuing blend is a very sensible lawyer who is also an extraordinary author. One particular of Christy’s finest strengths is her skill to speedily distill the problems in a situation to their concise essence.”
Brooks also stated Comstock’s invitation a number of yrs ago by her friends to turn out to be a member of the American School of Trial Attorneys.
“This is an honor that is reserved for the tiniest of fractions of all training lawyers,” Brooks stated. “In authorized circles, currently being a member of the American University signifies the pinnacle of accomplishment, standing, ethics and trustworthiness.”