You don't generally go to a shopping mall to find a lawyer.
In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a law office at any shopping center, admitted Medford lawyer Rick Lundblade. Yet there he is, a snowball's throw away from Santa's village in the heart of the Rogue Valley Mall.
When Lundblade struck off on his own last month after nearly 15 years with the law firm Black Chapman Webber and Stevens, he was looking for some exposure. He found it — between the gumball and hair product displays.
"I'm in transition now, it's my own show," said Lundblade, a former collegiate baseball catcher at Stanford University who went on to play in the Phillies and Mets organizations before going to law school.
"I don't know if this goes toward breaking a stereotype of what the people think of attorneys," he said. "A fair amount of people already know about me, whether through the firm or on my own."
His years in the minors, no doubt, taught him a thing or two about marketing.
"No one wants to go to the mall to shop for an attorney, I know I certainly wouldn't," Lundblade said. "But I'm not out there to sell them anything per se."
He's tying his mall promotion into a public-awareness campaign for bicycle safety and the "Holiday Helmets for Kids" program.
"As a catcher, I wouldn't go behind the plate without a helmet and mask, and I wouldn't hit without a helmet," Lundblade said. "I've seen what can happen when you bike without a helmet."
Lundblade was an unwitting participant in one of the most legendary moments in professional baseball. On Aug. 31, 1987, while playing for the Reading (Pa.) Phillies, he was on third base in the fifth inning with two outs when Williamsport Bills' catcher Dave Bresnahan tossed a potato past Lundblade into left field, prompting Lundblade to head for home, where Bresnahan tagged him out. After discovering it was a potato in the outfield, however, the umpire awarded Lundblade home and Bresnahan rode off into history when the Cleveland Indians released him the next day.
The next year, however, Williamsport retired Bresnahan's jersey on a promotional night, with fans who brought a potato getting in for a buck.
Lundblade was part of another memorable game that spanned three calendar days in 1988 while playing for the Jackson Mets, who were playing the San Antonio Missions in the AA Texas League. The teams played seven scoreless hours before play was suspended around 2:30 a.m. in the 25th inning. When the game was resumed two afternoons later, San Antonio scored in the 26th inning to win 1-0.
"I entered the game in the eighth or ninth inning and went 1-for-9," Lundblade said.
Back in 1985, Lundblade beat out Arizona State outfielder Barry Bonds for the Pac-10 South MVP award. The Eureka, Calif., native was taken in the sixth round by the Phillies that June.
"(Bonds) only had 762 more home runs than I did in the big leagues," said Lundblade, who never made it past the AAA level.
In one of those ironic twists of life, Lundblade made his professional debut at Miles Field playing for the Bend Phillies.
"In my first at-bat, I grounded to second," he said. "In my second at-bat I hit a home run off Wally Whitehurst."
They later became teammates in the Mets organization, and Whitehurst went on to pitch in seven major league seasons. Lundblade enrolled at Willamette University School of Law in 1993. While in law school he aspired to be a real estate lawyer but became a personal injury and sports lawyer when he began his career at Frohnmayer Deatherage in Medford before joining Black Chapman Webber and Stevens, where he became a partner.
Lundblade is going from an office of 16 people to a solo show.
"Partnerships are like marriages," he said. "A lot of marriages end up in divorce, and partnerships are not much different. I have the greatest respect for my former partners, but it was time to go out on my own."
Accompanied by his wife, Carla, who is a Beverly Hills clinical therapist, Lundblade is meeting and greeting shoppers starting at 4 p.m. daily and on weekends.
"It might seem unusual for an attorney to be at the mall," he said. "But now I can interact with the community and raise awareness for bicycle safety at the same time."
Lundblade can be reached at 541-951-9518.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.