Attorney At Law Magazine – Attorney of the Month
January 1, 2011
Not many lawyers consider chasing a steer running at breakneck speed in a dirt arena while mounted on a fast-moving horse and simultaneously swinging a rope at the horns of a pretty motivated animal whose main goal in life at the moment is to get the heck away from you as fast as he possibly can, to be uh, “a peaceful afternoon” – but then not many lawyers are as comfortable in this venue as Mike Tiffany. In the Valley’s extensive legal circles, Mike Tiffany, Managing Partner of Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., is widely recognized as one of the premiere go-to-guys when it comes to complex real estate transactions. However, in the tight-knit world of rodeos, Tiffany is known as a skillful ‘header’ in team-roping events. “My job is to rope the steer’s horns or head, while my partner’s job as the ‘heeler’ is to rope the steer by its hind legs,” explains Tiffany. “It requires teamwork between the riders and their horses, great timing and a lot of practice because we need to do it fast without having a wreck.” His best time to date: six seconds flat. Wow.
FROM COWBOYING TO COURT
So how did this accomplished attorney become involved in two such diverse worlds?
LET’S BACK IT UP A BIT.
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, Tiffany’s family lived in a part of Phoenix that was considered way out in the proverbial boondocks. Don’t snicker, but we’re talking about the area around Camelback Road and Central Avenue. “Growing up, we had horses and ponies on our property and I started roping when I was very young. In fact, I bought my first roping horse from former Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle when I was about ten years old,” recalls Tiffany. “As I got older, most of my friends were not into horses, so I returned to school sports playing baseball, basketball and especially, football.” His hard work, dedication and natural abilities paid off, and Tiffany did well enough in sports to earn athletic letters in football and track at St. Mary’s High School, where he held the state record in his senior year for the most points scored in a game and for the season. He currently shares his high school record with three others for scoring five touchdowns in a single game. Tiffany was recruited and given a full scholarship by legendary football coach, Dan Devine, to play ball at Arizona State University and he had the sideliners buzzing in his first scrimmage against the Varsity. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by injuries. After graduating with a degree in business from ASU, Tiffany spent a year on active duty with the Air National Guard. “After that, I started working with my family’s road building company, but I didn’t feel adequately prepared, so I decided to go to law school,” he says. “My dad had passed away by then, but my brother was very supportive of my plans because he knew I really wanted to attend law school.” So Tiffany trekked down south to the Old Pueblo, graduating from the University of Arizona’s law school. “My first year after (c) 2011 Andrew Paul Photography graduation, I was a law clerk for Judge Henry S. Stevens of the Arizona Court of Appeals,” he says, adding that while at the Court, he reconnected with an older friend from St. Mary’s High named Jim Cunningham.
A HANDSHAKE SEALS THE DEAL
“One day, Jim and I were having a cup of coffee, and with a handshake, we agreed to become partners in a two-lawyer law firm. Initially, I accepted any matter that came through the door, but after a few months, I realized that it made good business sense to only represent paying clients,” says Tiffany with a smile. “I tried to balance litigation and transactional work, but concluded that I could not do everything. My first move toward specialization was when Jim and I decided that he would handle the litigation and I would do everything else.” Over the years as his legal prowess and reputation grew, Tiffany’s work became exclusively focused on real estate and related matters.
TIFFANY & BOSC O, P.A.
Over two decades later (absent Cunningham, who had left earlier to focus on a boutique personal injury practice), a firm whose principals were a father and son team, Mike and Mark Bosco, joined with the firm. This newly reorganized firm, Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., has developed into one of the most powerhouse firms in Arizona. Tiffany & Bosco offers a wide range of legal services thanks to highly experienced attorneys who concentrate in their areas of expertise. “Particularly within the last five years, the firm has steadily grown as quality attorneys have learned more about our unique and positive structure and culture,” says Tiffany. “Our areas of practice include automotive, bankruptcy, business organizations, commercial litigation, condemnation, construction, criminal defense, employment, estate planning, family law, financial services, intellectual property, probate, real estate, securities and tax.” In addition to his duties as managing attorney of the firm, AV-rated Tiffany personally concentrates in the area of commercial transactions, primarily in strategic planning, business solutions and real estate and finance, including HUD-insured loans for multi-housing projects. Having achieved much success and respect from his peers and clients, this recognized expert has earned the right to sit back and rest on his laurels, but that’s not the measure of the man. “I still very much look forward to coming to the office and working with our clients to negotiate and structure transactions and solve problems,” he says. “But I will say that it is nice to be at a point in my career where I can walk out of a meeting with another attorney in our firm being responsible for document preparation.” Tiffany also continues to be actively involved in building Tiffany & Bosco and preserving the business model and culture that are the foundation of the firm’s success.
BACK IN THE SADDLE
So we’ve gone from cowboying to transactions. But how did he get back into cowboying? Tiffany says that during the part of his life when he was busy building his practice and raising his family, deep down, he always missed being around horses. “But I knew I would get back to it someday,” he says. “Finally, the time was right and I started roping again about twelve years ago, which has given me the opportunity to compete and to have the camaraderie with those individuals who share my interest in rodeo sports. Although it is physically demanding, I’m relaxed and invigorated when we’re finished.” Along with his thriving legal practice and teamroping activities, Tiffany is a Life Member of The Phoenix Thunderbirds and is past-Chairman and an honorary member of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix. He is also on the Board of Governors of the Sheriff ‘s Mounted Posse of Maricopa County, and was recently elected President of the Posse for 2011. “The Posse is available to assist with searchand- rescue operations and is especially needed in rugged and heavily vegetated country that is difficult to reach or cover with helicopters, light planes and/or ATVs,” remarks Tiffany. “The major public activity of the Posse is to participate in the Parada del Sol Parade, which the group has done for over 50 years.”
Tiffany says that he learned a great deal by observing his father and how he ran his roadbuilding business. “He was very successful but humble, and he had a reputation for being tough but honest and fair,” he says. “He died when I was 21, and several of his friends told my brother and me at his funeral that he was honest in business and in his marriage. I have never forgotten those words.” Other mentors that Tiffany cites are Judge Henry S. Stevens, his former partner, Jim Cunningham, and his wife, Patsy. “Judge Stevens was an important influence in my legal thinking, and Jim Cunningham, who graduated from law school eight years ahead of me, was very helpful in my early years. My wife, Patsy, has always been there for me with good advice. And last, but certainly not least, I regularly pray for guidance.”
When asked why he doesn’t just kick back, relax and travel, Tiffany pensively replies: “I have been very fortunate and have greatly benefited from living and working in my community. Although Patsy and I are involved in some high-profile charitable and cultural organizations, we find the most satisfaction in supporting needy individuals and families and promoting education,” he says. “We both believe that it is important to give back through contributions as well as personal participation with community organizations.” Looking back at his career, Tiffany feels a sense of fulfillment about a number of things. “I want others to be able to say ‘he’s been a good lawyer and played a significant role in creating and building a successful law firm with top-quality lawyers and staff who respect and get along with each other’,” says Tiffany. “As far as the future, I want to continue practicing law as long as I am able to do so and to continue having quality time with my wife, family and friends. And since I’ve worked hard all my life to stay physically fit, I hope that when I’m 85, I’ll be teamroping, rather than sitting in a rocking chair.”