Stating that there are many challenges, on a regular basis, that he has had to address in practicing law, Brooklyn lawyer Roland G. Ottley urges legal practitioners to be “always organized and focused.”
“Some cases involve more complicated issues and consume a lot of your time,” the Vincentian-born Ottley, who grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and practices law, as a solo practitioner, in East Flatbush, told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview.
“Some cases require intense legal research to figure out a legal strategy,” he added. “Some cases require lengthy conversations with your clients.”
Ottley, who works simultaneously as a physician assistant at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in East Flatbush, said meeting these challenges can be more difficult “if you do not have the burning passion and desire to practice law, and to use the Lord to help others.”
He, however, said success comes from the achievement of the client’s objective.
“Some cases may take many years before you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labor,” he said. “After practicing for these many years, I have developed the experience to handle cases in a way that will allow me the leverage to advantageously settle cases for my clients.”
After migrating from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in October 1969, Ottley graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn.
He said he lived in Germany for a few years, and then attended and later graduated from the St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Allied Health in Jamaica, Queens in 1989.
From St. John’s he received a bachelor’s of science degree in physician assistant studies and has been working as a surgical physician assistant for more than 20 years at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.
Ottley, who is certified as a surgical physician assistant by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, has surgical experience in neurosurgery, general surgery, urology, otolaryngology and gynecology.
He said he has published several articles in physician assistant publications and wider medical literature, and has been the speaker and, at times, the moderator at national and New York State physician assistant conferences.
Ottley said he once held an adjunct professor position at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program.
For many years, he served as a member of the Healthcare Committee for late Congressman Major Owens, who had represented the then 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn.
After graduating from Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania in 1996, where he received his juris doctor (JD) degree (law), Ottley opened his own law firm, The Ottley Law Firm.
He said he concentrates on immigration law, personal injury, landlord/tenant, consumer fraud, uncontested divorce, employment and discrimination laws.
He is admitted to the city and state courts of New York, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York federal courts, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and immigration courts.
Ottley said he teaches paralegal students how to handle work in a law office, and exposes them to the practice of law in the courts.
He said he introduces paralegals to legal research and legal analysis, as well as legal writing.
In addition, Ottley said he hosts prospective law students from China “to expose them to the practice of law in the United States.”
He also gives immigration presentations throughout his community, providing members with “free immigration information.”
For aspiring law students, Ottley advised: “If you are young or more mature and really want to become a lawyer, then I would say that you should look into how to best prepare for law school.
“Research and consider what law school you would like to attend,” he said. “Understand what law school is all about, and prepare yourself to attend law school without the attendant fear and anxiety from the unexpected.
“Develop a strategy for studying for the bar exam the whole entire time that you are attending law school,” Ottley added. “Network with a variety of law firms and try to get into the doors of some law firm or agency to gain experience in the practice of law.
“See if your networking abilities would help you to land a job with a firm specializing in the area of law that you are most interested in practicing,” he continued. “Do your best to try to pass the bar exam on the first try.”