Wilson Law July 2019

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July 2019

Born on the 4th of July Life, Liberty, and My Daughter

The Fourth of July carries special significance in my family, and not just because I’m a lawyer. While it’s true the celebrations of our rights to life, liberty, and equality directly relate to the work attorneys do every day, the connection I’m talking about is a little more personal. You see, July 4, 1994, was the day my eldest daughter, Rachel, was born. My wife and I had no issue getting to the hospital the day before; in the lead up to the holiday, the roads were practically empty. What followed was a long day, especially for my wife. That evening, I remember being mildly surprised when I heard fireworks in the distance. Compared to the relief and exhaustion that comes with having your first child, our own nation’s birthday felt like a very abstract, far away thing. Of course, in subsequent years, we were more than eager to combine the two celebrations. There aren’t many kids who can say they’ve had firework shows on their birthday, that’s for sure. There were plenty of outdoor parties with red, white, and blue balloons, hamburgers, hot dogs, and cake. Rachel also has the added bonus of essentially being guaranteed the day off for her birthday, as long as she doesn’t leave the U.S.

approaches her 25th birthday, she’s also preparing for her second year of law school. That’s right: Rachel’s following in her old man’s footsteps. Like all my kids, I would have been proud to support her regardless of what career field she’d chosen for herself. But watching the way she’s blazed her own trail on this difficult career path has been inspiring for me. While she was going to Purdue and weighing her options for a career path, she began asking me more and more questions about what I did. Then she asked about the LSAT, and before I knew it, she’d landed herself a clerking position with a judge in Elkhart County. I didn’t even have to write a letter of recommendation on her behalf. Rachel set up the whole thing on her own, and that gumption showed me she has what it takes to work in law. Now, having been through a year of law school, Rachel has gained a lot of knowledge, and it feels as though we have a new way of communicating. Everyone in the Wilson

household has picked up some “lawyer speak” from me over the years, but now my daughter has the context for it. Being able to talk about legal concepts with her is a kind of bonding experience I never expected. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll be law partners. Now that Rachel’s begun studying law, I suspect that the Fourth of July will become another bonding opportunity for us. After all, a country is only as free as its laws and judicial systems are fair. Attorneys, particularly criminal defense lawyers, play an active role in protecting these vital personal freedoms and making sure their clients get the fair, unbiased trials the Constitution affords them. It’s almost poetic that my daughter has chosen a career in defending these liberties that were put in motion on the day of her birth—give or take 218 years.

But the Fourth is about to gain even more significance for my daughter. As she

“Now that Rachel’s begun studying law, I suspect that the Fourth of July will become another bonding opportunity for us.”

Happy Fourth of July, and happy birthday, Rachel!

-Tom Wil son

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