Jon Mani admits that he has always had a competitive streak—which is one of the reasons he enjoys going to court.
“I love being in the thick of a legal battle,” he says.“I always competed in sports growing up and I guess it appeals to that side of me.”
Representing clients in court also appeals to the sense of commitment that he and partner Damon Ellis made in 2004, when they created their Charleston law firm: To provide caring and professional representation to people who have been injured due to the negligence of others.
“I really like helping people,” he says, “and it’s gratifying when you can make an actual impact in their lives.”
A West Virginia native, Mani received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University in 1997 and his law degree from therein 2001. He launched his career working in a medical malpractice defense firm. He quickly realized he wanted to represent individuals instead of corporations. He joined a general-practice firm where he met Ellis, and the two made plans to launch their own firm.
“We wanted a law firm that had a personal feel to it and a lot of community involvement,” he says.
They opened shop without any clients, “but as we started doing good work, our practice started to ramp up exponentially,” Mani says.
One of the important cases Mani handled involved a collision between a barge and a pleasure craft, resulting in the deaths of two small children and their aunt. He has also represented plaintiffs in a number of nursing home abuse cases. Those victories earned him a reputation as a lawyer who could handle complex and challenging personal cases.
To Mani, the challenge of achieving successful outcomes for his clients is much like putting a puzzle together, piece by piece.
“I love making connections with people and that’s what trying a case really is—making a connection with jurors and presenting a case in such a way that it’s impactful but is also accurate to the evidence and comports with the law,” he says.
Mani carries his love of the law to the broader Charleston community by participating in school career days and mock trials. The firm has sponsored youth baseball and soccer teams and has participated in a community Christmas gift-card giveaway for client families.
Away from work, he is a fly-fishing enthusiast, and he also enjoys spending time with his family.
“My family is the center of my life and is what drives me to be the best person and lawyer that I can be,” he says. “I have two children and a wife I adore.”