I want to understand how and why you ended up here working at Buchanan & Buchanan. What led you to this job? What were you doing before you came here? What attracted you to work for the Buchanan team?
In 1995, I left the most prestigious law firm in West Michigan to start Buchanan & Buchanan with my family. Though I had a terrific career as a business litigator with Warner, Norcross & Judd, and about to join the partnership that year, I chose not to step onto that up escalator. Partners at the firm and many friends thought I’d gone mad. Why would anyone work so hard for years and walk away from financial security? But I knew myself. I wanted to help real people, solve real problems, doing meaningful legal work, and no longer serve big companies and wealthy executives in their squabbles over money. Today, I enjoy helping wonderful people everyday resolve true injustice, and I’ve never regretted my decision.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?
As a plaintiff attorney, I am always helping the little guy, the underdog to right wrongs. I enjoy being their metaphoric David figure in single combat against powerful and moneyed Goliaths. Giants are arrogant and terrifying bullies, and they try pummeling the little guy with their superior size, weapons, and brute strength. No one fights them unless it’s a death wish. As attorneys for the little guy, we must be quicker, smarter, more resourceful, and spot how to win early because combat with giants is never fair. I like the challenge of knocking out a giant.
Name three movie characters whose personalities or nature best resemble your own.
George Bailey of It’s a Wonderful Life for dedication, loyalty to working people, and perseverance, Jerry Maguire (of the movie by the same name) for a life-altering epiphany in his 30’s about his career and helping fewer clients produce better results, and Vinny Gambini of My Cousin Vinny for his unconventional approach and winning courtroom results.
What are you happiest doing, when you are not working?
Downhill skiing in fresh snow, scuba diving in clear water, driving an old roadster on a winding road through a forest, or traveling where the native language isn’t English.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I have enjoyed this charming Mexican village with family since 1978, and speak just enough toddler-level Spanish to find adventures and stay out of trouble.
CONTACT Robert J. Buchanan