Dickerson Oxton - February 2019

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FEB. 2019




Working With Love HOW I MET CHELSEA



With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to shout out my partner in all things, Chelsea. In the adventures of my adult life, from founding this firm to raising our two kids, she has been a steadfast companion. It’s hard to believe that our journey together began with choosing a seat on the first day of law school. Sometimes the biggest shifts in life spring from very small moments. There were a lot of things on my mind when I walked into that first-year seminar class for the first time. How tough was the professor going to be? What would the reading load be like? Is this first day just going to be spent going over the syllabus? I almost didn’t notice the student taking her seat next to me, and I certainly didn’t expect her to become my wife. became clear she was intelligent, even by law school standards — and she was incredibly beautiful. As we got to talking in and between lectures, the two of us discovered we had a lot in common. Both of us came from similar backgrounds: Midwestern kids raised in the suburbs who’d at some point been told by our respective parents “you’re good at arguing.” We’d gravitated Of course, I couldn’t go without noticing Chelsea for long. It quickly

toward legal careers because of how intellectually stimulating the law is.

Our years dating in law school did a lot to prepare us for our professional lives. Beyond just learning the law, we learned to work together and rely on one another. We took all the same classes, studied together, did exam prep together, and after we got married, sat the bar exam together. While the work we do today is real, not the hypothetical logic puzzles they give you during the LSAT, our passion for collaborating on complex problems has stuck with us and is a unique strength of our firm. Some people ask me if it’s difficult operating a law firm alongside my wife. They wonder if our work and home lives blend together, and I’ll admit we do have to take conscious steps to prevent that from happening. As much as we love what we do, if we start bringing case files to the dinner table, we begin to feel more like coworker roommates than husband and wife. So we hold ourselves to a strict rule: once we’re in the car, no talk about work. That’s a small price to pay to get to work with my best friend.

As much as our parallel upbringings were a pleasant surprise, what was more refreshing is that we both shared a conviction on how we wanted to practice law. We felt the most important work an attorney can do is, as Chelsea put it in her first article in this newsletter, “give voice to people in need.” Unlike many of our peers, we weren’t interested in joining large "Sometimes the biggest shifts in life spring from verY small moments." corporate firms to help big businesses legally insulate themselves. We wanted to use our talents to stick up for the people who are so often hurt by those large companies. Thinking back on all those impassioned conversations, it’s a wonder we didn’t realize we were destined to found our own firm sooner. Needless to say, I was infatuated pretty early on. But at first Chelsea kept her head down and stayed focused on her studies. Then, about a month into our semester, we both attended a school function, and I asked her out to lunch. The rest, as they say, is history.






Happy Valentine’s Day,


1 –Tom Dickerson



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