What Motivates Me Folks Love to Help Others —They’re Just Hoping to See Your Passion
I ’ll never forget the day I decided I was going to law school. I was biking to work and listening to the radio when the newscaster announced a second plane hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. I stopped peddling, climbed off my bike, and walked the next 2 miles to my office building to contemplate what I had just heard. Like many of the people who had walked into the World Trade Center that day, I thought it was going to be a normal day. Instead, everything changed in an instant when it hit home that there are no sure things in life, and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to any of us. Late for work, I walked into my boss’s office at the Washington Department of Transportation. It was a job I had thoroughly enjoyed since graduating from Gonzaga University with my undergraduate degree, and I planned to continue working there because I’d been told there was no way to work part-time while going to law school. But that morning, I told them I was going to go to law school somehow, someway, but I needed to keep this job. I had a pregnant wife and 1-year-old daughter; I needed to fit in law school while also working to keep health insurance. So, what were we going to do to make it work?
fell in love with Spokane and planted our roots here. I didn’t want to move my family to Seattle just for my dream. I may be the first lawyer in my family, but I come from a long line of hardworking, nose- to-the-grindstone kind of people. I grew up in Montana with four brothers and a family of ranchers and construction workers. My summers and after-school activities were filled by helping my parents with the various projects they were working on. When we could, my brothers and I would wrestle, box, and ride motorcycles, but my big passions in life were reading, politics, and history. As baffling as it was to my family, I enjoyed debating our nation’s issues and getting lost in history books. You see, learning and arguing never seemed like hard work for me. Coming from a place where blisters and injuries were commonplace, I’m grateful for the gift of a profession that lets me spend time doing what I love —making sure our clients get fair treatment and standing up to the bullies of the legal world.
something would be possible, your idea will be ignored. But if you approach someone with determination and say, “This is what I’m going to do. How can we make it work?” they will work with you. I used that same approach when I talked to the administrator at Gonzaga. They didn’t have any night classes, and most law programs require the full attention of their students. If they weren’t going to help me, I told them I would find somewhere that could. My initial plan to attend Gonzaga wasn’t going to work, the administrator told me, but I could try. Three years later, I graduated law school while also parenting my two young children with my wife and working 30 hours a week at my job. Once I’d shown the determination to go forward no matter the cost, both my employer and Gonzaga were amazingly helpful, patient, and flexible. I knew for a while that I wanted to be a lawyer, but I got married in college and started a family. I cannot imagine my life without my wife and our four kids, but having a young family makes law school way more difficult. What’s more, we
I learned an important lesson that day. When you gingerly test the waters to see if
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