Small Law Lifestyle: Neale Poller

September 28, 2011

As an instrument rated pilot, Neale Poller has mastered the intensive training of solely relying on instruments in flight. When it comes to practicing law, he wants the same accuracy and attention to detail, but with easy navigation. That’s just what he gets with WestlawNext.

WHAT IS YOUR LEGAL BACKGROUND?

I have been practicing for 42 years under the Florida bar. I started as a commercial litigator, but then expanded to other areas such as real estate, personal injury, and family law.  Years ago lawyers tended to practice a little bit of everything, however times have changed.  Now, I have narrowed my practice to mainly civil business work.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH FLYING?

I was about 40 years old when I became interested in flying, but wasn’t convinced that I really wanted to be a pilot. One day when I was out for a leisurely drive in South Beach County, I followed signs to a flight school and walked in to see what it was all about. The lady behind the desk asked if I wanted to go up for a trial, and said that if I liked it, then that would be considered my first lesson. Needless to say, I went up. The pilot flew us over Biscayne Bay, which is gorgeous from the air. That’s when I got hooked.

Since then, I have achieved instrument rating and bought a single engine airplane with three other attorneys. We share the plane for both business and personal use. Sometimes I fly out for a hearing or trial here and there, but usually I fly for pleasure. My friends joke that I go out for $100 cheeseburgers because I tend to fly to a different part of the state to grab a bite to eat and then fly back.

I find flying to be very cathartic. It is an activity that I don’t usually do during the week while I am practicing law. Relying on the instruments in flight requires my full attention, which allows me to let the week day cobwebs go. I can simply enjoy my passion for flying.

WHAT IS AN INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT?

Well, that is very simple. In order to fly in the clouds, or where visibility based on the conditions is reduced, you have to have an instrument rating. If you do not have an instrument rating, you can only fly outside of the clouds. The instrument training teaches you the discipline of a slavish reliance upon the instruments in the airplane. If you fly into a cloud and you have no visible sight of the horizon, you cannot tell which side is up and you become spatially disoriented very easily. You have to rely on your instruments and that is what the training is all about. It gets you to disobey your instincts and follow what the instruments are telling you.

HOW DO YOU USE WESTLAWNEXT?

I have used Westlaw since graduating from law school starting with the printed text, of course. Throughout the years, I have found Westlaw to be extremely helpful in my practice. First, it was helpful because of the printed work, now because of the online resources. I wouldn’t say I am 100% on the computer because I was not raised in that generation. Nonetheless, I think that WestlawNext makes it simple enough that even those of us who were not raised with computers have a good grasp of how to handle the system. WestlawNext is extremely helpful and I find it easy to navigate.

Visit his law firm’s website.

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