Ever since he launched the Reaves Law Firm, PLLC in 2011, Henry E. Reaves III has operated it under a guiding precept: “We want to be loved by our clients, we want to be respected by our peers, and we want to be feared by our opposition.”
Reaves III had graduated from Indiana University School of Law two years earlier and landed his first job in a Memphis firm that defended insurance companies and corporations. He quickly came to realize that wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. “Basically, what I was doing was keeping hurt people from getting paid, and I had conflicts with that,” Reaves III recalls. “It didn’t sit well with me.”
So he left that firm, intent on helping people who’ve been hurt — and he has been putting the knowledge that he attained during his stint with the defense firm to good advantage ever since. “It helps me because I got to see the other side,” he says. “I know their tactics and how they look at cases and evaluate cases. Just being on that side, living it and walking it, was priceless.”
For Reaves III, that experience and his compassion for injured people have equally contributed to his formula for success. From his early days as a solo attorney, the firm has continued to grow and build a reputation. He has recorded significant legal victories, including jury verdicts of $1.8 million and $1.3 million. Overall, his clients have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts.
A Memphis native, Reaves III enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after high school, specializing in military intelligence. He served from 1998 to 2002 and received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, and was recognized for his contributions to Operation Enduring Freedom.
Reaves III traces his interest in the law to his childhood, when he watched TV shows like Perry Mason and Matlock with his grandmother. However, after his honorable discharge from the Air Force, it would be a few more years before he was able to pursue that goal.
As a student at Indiana University School of Law, Reaves III realized his passion for trial work and participated in moot court. He extended in the felony division of the Indianapolis prosecutor’s office and then clerked for Judge Carr L. Darden in the Indiana Court of Appeals.
Reaves III says his goal for the firm is to provide service to the community in every possible way. The firm has sponsored youth sports teams and helped to feed furloughed government workers when they couldn’t work due the shutdown.
“I enjoy many aspects of what I do,” he says. “But at the end of the day, it comes down to people and having the opportunity to be their voice. Many times, the people we represent are going through the worst time of their lives, and we want to go through that with them.”
“What I tell my clients is: ‘I can’t make you better physically; I’m not a doctor; I can’t bring back a loved one. The one thing I can do is get you compensation.’”