The practice of law wasn't a job for Mark Lipinski; rather, it was a way for Mark to express who he was. It is well known that Mark worked tirelessly on his caseload and devoted his life to serving others. There was no such thing as a day-off in Mark’s world. The entire time I knew Mark, he worked seven days a week. He was an extraordinary attorney and devoted son. The only time I’ve ever seen Mark put work on hold was on Sunday afternoons, when he went to have lunch with his dad at the nursing home. If a young attorney was lucky enough to receive the invitation from Mark to, “stop by the office this weekend and we can chat,” he or she was a fool not to go. For an afternoon with Mark was far more valuable in developing an attorney’s skills than any amount of time spent in the law school classroom. Mark was a brilliant teacher; he was deliberate and attentive in everything he did. He constantly reminded me of the importance of preserving the record for appeal. His mind was like a machine. He digested legal materials in an effortless manner and captivated audiences with his eloquent deliveries. Mark could simultaneously begin writing the appeal in his head, as the courtroom clerk finished reading the guilty verdict. I know I will spend the rest of my career hoping to be like him one day.
Mark lost his father in October 2014. A few weeks after Mark buried his dad, we were on our way to Port Manatee to visit a client at the jail. Mark looked over at me and said, “you know, kiddo, for the first time in my life I feel like an orphan.” Mark, I can honestly say I now know how you felt, because I feel like an orphan with the passing of my dear friend and mentor. I remember how Mark agonized over writing his father’s obituary. He wanted desperately to find the right words to honor the man who meant so much to him. I never thought less than two years later, I would be in the same predicament. Nothing I write could do Mark justice. I can only say that I am a better person for having known him. His passing is a tremendous loss to the legal community and all who knew him. Rest in peace, Mark Lipinski.
Dan took this picture of the items on Mark's table before a trial: