In May 2017, a lawyer I’d never heard of called me with an audacious proposal. He wanted to organize what he believed would be the best conference ever for solo and small firm lawyers. And he wanted my help.

Steven R. Adams was a lawyer who built a successful Ohio criminal defense practice but who felt that the legal conferences he’d attended weren’t teaching solo and small firm lawyers the skills they needed to start and grow their practices.

So he decided to take matters into his own hands and put on his own conference. Nevermind that he’d never organized a conference before. And nevermind that he wanted to hold it in Indianapolis, Ind., rather than his home city of Cincinnati, because he believed more solos would attend there.

Steve had strong ideas about how to grow a successful law practice. He’d even written his own book on it, Practice Law Like An Ironman, a title derived from his having completed four Ironman triathlon world championships.

The conference Steve organized, called Jump-Start Your Law Practice, held Nov. 16-18, 2017, turned out to be, substantively, one of the best conferences of its kind I’d ever attended. Unfortunately, the attendance was not what Steve had hoped, and so he never held a second one.

But over the course of several months helping Steve plan the conference, I came to know someone with infectious energy, unbridled enthusiasm, instinctive entrepreneurialism, selfless devotion to helping others, and consummate professionalism.

Thus, it is with great sadness that I report that Steve, just 55, was killed while bicycling Sunday morning after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

I have a copy of Steve’s book on the shelf in my office. Inside the front cover, the Ironman lawyer wrote an inscription, dubbing me the “IronTech man.” Coming from Steve, that was the ultimate compliment.

I knew Steve only briefly. But every moment of working with him was a pleasure. He was one of the good ones and I am sure he will be missed my many.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.