Renee Castle is an attorney, a businesswoman, a wife, a mother and a booster of Memphis, the city she has called home since the early 1980s. A native Texan, she is a partner in the law firm Pfrommer & Castle, and though you wouldn’t know it from the names on the shingle over the door, the other partner is her younger brother, Michael Pfrommer. She handles estate planning, commercial real estate and business transactions. He specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice.
Renee came to Memphis as a bride and newly minted lawyer, began practicing at a large firm and jumped into her adopted city, participating in Leadership Memphis and serving on the boards of Memphis Area Legal Services, Neighborhood Housing Opportunities and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Renee, a mother of two and wife of Memphis attorney Larry Crawford, says that family and work are her life’s passion. We are delighted to talk about life, love and the law with today’s FACE of Memphis, Renee Castle!
What do you like most about the law?
Helping clients to solve problems that it takes the law to solve. Through that, many of my clients have also become my friends. In my practice, which involves business planning, estate planning and commercial real estate, I enjoy helping clients navigate highly personal issues, whether it is to guide them in the formation of a new business, the sale of a family-owned business or in their estate planning to provide for any future incapacity and to pass on their estate and their values to future generations.
What advice would you give women who are considering a career in the law?
Go for it! The field of the law is now much more open to women than it was when I first began practicing. I would also advise women considering a career in the law to have confidence in themselves and their abilities, and to seek out mentors along the way.
What hurdles do you think women business owners must overcome?
For many women who choose to combine parenting — or caring for aging parents — with a successful business career, juggling the competing demands of work and family can be challenging, especially since women still shoulder more of the burden of childcare responsibilities.
What qualities do you have that have contributed to your success as a lawyer?
I have never been afraid of hard work. I worked 30 to 40 hours per week during college and law school to support myself and help my single mom and younger brother, so working hard as a lawyer was nothing new. My early experience as a litigator gave me the ability to see the “other side” in business transactions and to understand how things might go south if the right documents were not drafted in the first place. I can also be tough and tenacious when I need to be. Early on, a client complimented me after I protected him from an aggressive lawyer in a tough deposition by saying that I was “meaner than a junkyard dog,” which became my nickname. I still have a can of dog food inscribed “To the junkyard dog” that another lawyer gave to me after hearing that story.
How has your career experience informed the manner in which you help others?
People are at the heart of every transaction, whether a sale of a hotel or other business or estate planning. My career lets me help people as they face life crises, celebrate successes in life or deal with other major life events.
What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, and have more fun along the way. I would take off more time when my children were young — those years go by so very fast!
What life advice do you give your daughters?
Make sure that your future spouse is also your best friend. Even during tough times, you can persevere through faith and determination. I — and all of your family — will always be here for you.
What do you love most about Memphis?
At the risk of sounding trite, the thing I most love about Memphis is the people. They are very open, friendly and welcoming. Even if you did not grow up here, you can easily make lifelong friends in Memphis.
Name your favorite spot in Memphis.
Some of my favorite spots in Memphis are seats at any Grizzlies game, dinner at the bar at Andrew Michael, lunch or dinner at Interim, events at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, yoga and barre classes around town and the free concerts at the Levitt Shell.
What are you most proud of?
My daughters, Sarah Elizabeth and Cristia
Favorite vacation spot?
What do you value most in life?
Time with family
What do you value most about your friends?
Their wisdom and their willingness to share that wisdom with me
Where do you hope to be and what do you hope to be doing in 5-10 years?
Here, doing the same thing, but even better as I continue to learn and grow. I love what I do, and I don’t see myself retiring anytime soon.
What is the best advice you have been given?
My late mom used to say, “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch … yard by yard, it’s hard,” which I think is excellent advice. I try to follow her advice every day, by tackling one challenge at a time.
What are three things — other than faith, family and friends — that you cannot live without?
Coffee, good food and dogs (we currently have three, all rescued by my daughters)
Thank you, Renee! To learn more about Renee’s law practice, call (901) 681-9834.
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