Parks and Crump ‘iron-tight’ friendship goes back to college days
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
D uring the past week, Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks have been confronted with the same questions too many times to keep track.
Why? That’s what those who know the two lawyers as a force in civil rights and wrongful death litigations have been asking since it was disclosed that Crump is leaving the partnership. The move is about opportunity and not discord, they insisted.
Their friendship, which goes back to their days in college at Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Florida State University (FSU), is “iron-tight,” said the lawyers whose work brought national recognition to their firm Parks and Crump.
Speculation over why the duo will have separate law practices began to circulate after it was reported that Crump is now an affiliate of Morgan and Morgan.
Crump also will be working with firms in California and Washington, D.C., with a local office at 122 Calhoun Street.
Meanwhile, Parks also will have his own firm in the same location whey they shared at 240 Magnolia Drive. Like Crump, who also is involved in a television career, Parks said he’s considering other options while law remains his priority.
“We are the best of friends still,” Parks said. “People come to a point where they want to do some different things. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s an opportunity; an opportunity that we embrace.”
However, the move left those who know the longevity of their friendship wondering what happened.
“That’s one of my best friends,” said Crump, the more visible of the two. “We have achieved some extraordinary things. We will continue to achieve things too. But at this time we’ve made the decision to pursue other things.”
Parks, 49, is a Haines City native. Crump, 47, was born in North Carolina and moved to Fort Lauderdale before coming to Tallahassee to attend FSU. Parks did his pre-law studies at FAMU.
Both were involved in student government – Parks at FAMU and Crump at FSU. They got to know each other through joint student government activities between the two universities.
After graduation, they launched their careers, taking whatever cases they could.
“We took cases as they happened and you try to champion justice as best you can,” Parks said.
Eventually they established a firm that became best known for civil rights cases. The list is a lengthy one, including the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman and the death Martin Lee Anderson following a beating by guards at a Bay County youth detention center.
The brotherhood rooted in their friendship formed more than 20 years ago evolved to the point that it brought their families together.
“Our families are iron-tight together,” Parks said. “It will probably take Ben’s mother to tell it best. We’ve spent all type of time together. We will probably have more time for our friendship now that we are pursuing our other business interest at this point.”
Parks said they will continue to do some of the social gatherings such as cookouts and taking each other’s children on outings. The movies and Chuck E. Cheese’s are two of their favorite things to do.