Phyllis Law - December 2018

G rowing up, I always wanted to be like my dad. He was the smart, friendly doctor and congressman that everyone knew in town, and I watched as he made big differences in the lives of his patients and constituents each day. I am so proud of my dad, and I was driven toward medicine because I wanted to be just like him. I learned pretty quickly that medicine was not my calling, but one trait that made my dad the great doctor and lawmaker he was is something I’m proud to have inherited: a desire to help people. I shifted gears, made my way to law school, and before graduation, I began my career as a lawyer being a prosecutor. As a public servant prosecuting crimes, I discovered I had a unique opportunity to help good people who made poor choices if I made the switch to defending those accused. Watching my dad help people in need for 30 years instilled in me a strong desire to help those who could not help themselves. As a former prosecutor, I was privy to what my clients could anticipate from the state. I use that knowledge every day, as my law firm now focuses on younger clients. I believe in a holistic approach to representing accused people. I work with each client to determine what decisions led to them being charged and how we can change that behavior going forward. Even with wrongfully accused clients, they can usually determine the poor choices that got them in that situation. My firm goes the extra mile to try and wipe the slate clean for our clients so that they can Those first days in the courtroom were overwhelming at times. Prosecutors have a tremendous responsibility as the representatives who bring charges against fellow citizens. You have to learn how to treat everyone with respect, honor the process, and do the best job you can.

go on to pursue all of their hopes and dreams for their future.

What My Father Taught Me Finding MyWay to a Law Career Devoted to Others

I’ve learned that a lot of the kids I’m working with have never been in trouble before, and this experience is embarrassing and terrifying for them. They have their whole lives ahead of them. Plenty of these teens and young adults have aspirations of working in the medical field and having families of their own. My team and I are there to make sure they still get those opportunities and come out of these situations inspired, happy, and healthy. We want to see our clients pursue their dreams, and that might require a reroute from the course they are currently on. Seven years ago, I was given another opportunity to use my expertise to help others. I became an associate judge in Marietta Municipal Court, and then, two years ago, I became a part-time chief judge in Smyrna Municipal Court. Being a judge is a completely different facet of the law field. You have to work as a mediator to diffuse hostility and help both sides come to a satisfying understanding. It takes a great deal of dedication, but it’s a service I’m proud to provide to my local community. It was so important to me to not lose my law practice when I became a judge, because I wanted to keep helping the community I’ve lived in my whole life. I wanted to maintain the legacy my dad had established, and I think I’ve been able to do that, even if it was done in a different way. We get put on the path we’re supposed to be on, and even though working in law wasn’t my original goal, I’ve been able to build a career to help others live happier, fuller lives on their correct path. I couldn’t have done it without the best doctor, congressman, and father I know. –Phyllis Gingrey Collins

One trait that made my dad the great doctor and lawmaker he was is something

I’m proud to have inherited: a desire to help people. ”

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