WHO INSPIRES US TO DO MORE? WHAT MATTERS
I knew I wanted to be a lawyer the first time I saw my dad give his opening statements in court. I was 12 years old at the time, and I still get goose bumps thinking about how intense he was. My dad demanded the attention of every single person in that room as he fought for his client, and it was then I realized the true responsibility of an attorney. This month, I want to introduce you to my father, John Barnett, a man who has always inspired me to fight the good fight.
When the law works the way it should, when attorneys do their job, and when both sides are represented fairly, everyone benefits.
Grandpa with Harlow and Finn
moment for me. The stakes were high, the courtroom was packed, and my family was right there watching the process unfold.
We have a lot of lawyers in our family. My father was a prosecutor and a defense attorney in the Marine Corps and then later in the JAG Corps. He inspired my sister and me to become lawyers, which, I suppose, led to Case and his sister going to law school, too. What you grow up around has a large influence on what you do, and I am proud to come from a family where what we do matters. That has always been a big part of why I wanted to be a lawyer, even as a little boy. The results of what I do at work matter. Someone either goes to jail or they get to go home to their family. Every day, an attorney deals with high stakes, and when I handle an especially complicated case, the results don’t just matter to myself or my client — they matter to society as a whole. When the law works the way it should, when attorneys do their job, and when both sides are represented fairly, everyone benefits. I feel really honored and blessed that I get to do what I wanted to do with my life; not everyone gets that opportunity. In over 40 years as an attorney, I have tried a number of cases that had some notoriety, but there is one case that will always stand out: the Rodney King case. I was hired to defend one of the policemen involved in that case who had already been vilified on national television. It was a very significant
John Barnett in the Courtroom
As I spoke to the jury, defending a client whom the public had already deemed guilty, I could look over and see Case sitting there with my wife and daughter. It was like Take Your Kid to Work Day — but to the extreme. That case captured everything I love about being an attorney. We had a lot at stake; what would happen in that courtroom really mattered, and my family got to watch it all. I’ve tried a lot of cases in my career, but the ones where my son was there hold a special place in my heart. That wouldn’t be the last time I was in a courtroom with my son. I’ve tried cases with him after he was no longer in short pants, and it has been a pleasure to watch my son become the man he is today: taller, smarter, better looking, and a better lawyer than I am. And isn’t that what any parent wants? To know you’ve raised a kid who became better and will go further than you ever could?
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