T. HARDEE BASS III earned his law degree from Stetson University College of Law and his undergraduate degree from The Florida State University.
Prior to joining Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA, Mr. Bass served as a felony prosecutor in the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office. During his tenure, he handled nearly 50 jury trials to verdict, prosecuting crimes ranging from Driving Under the Influence to first degree felonies punishable by life in prison.
Since he has joined the firm, Mr. Bass has worked exclusively in the firm’s tobacco litigation unit, litigating cases against cigarette-making giants Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard Tobacco Company, and Liggett. He has tried cases in venues across the state of Florida, including obtaining a verdict in excess of $20 million in Escambia County in 2010, and a $3.5 million verdict in Highlands County in 2012.
He has been recognized as a rising star by Super Lawyers.
Mr. Bass is admitted to practice in the state courts of Florida, and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Florida. He is a member of The Florida Bar; the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the Martin County Bar Association; the American Association for Justice; the Palm Beach County Justice Association; and the Florida Justice Association.
Outside of the firm, Mr. Bass volunteers as pro bono advocate for the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics.
Mr. Bass was raised in Hobe Sound, Florida in neighboring Martin County.
I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that having a law degree would allow me – or I thought it would – the possibility to do a number of different things. Out of law school, I became a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. As a prosecutor, you get to be in court and gain experience learning your way around a courtroom. From there, it was a natural progression into civil litigation.
From a professional standpoint, you have to be prepared as a prosecutor because you have a number of cases and it’s challenging to know them all. But that doesn’t matter when you stand up before the judge and the judge asks you a question. You need to be able to answer it, and the only way to answer it directly without having to tap dance or beat around the bush is to know what you’re talking about. In court, being prepared is the single most important thing.
When I went to law school, I really didn’t have any expectations. I don’t think I had a clear idea of what a lawyer did. I mean, everyone’s read the books and seen the movies and all that stuff, but the reality of the day-to- day job of a lawyer is quite different.
At the end of the day, if you go to trial and you win, that’s a benchmark . . .that’s a measure, and that is the ultimate “job well done” for a client. I think, though, that you’re always learning, evaluating and trying to improve. I sit down after every trial – even every hearing – and reflect on how things went, how I interacted with the judge, and my level of preparation. I try to learn from each experience.
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