Letter of the Law
What Led Me to the Law? My Competitive Streak and Love for My Community
I’ve been a pretty competitive person ever since I was a young kid, and I was pretty brutal in high school. One year in chemistry class, I was pretty confident that I would do well on a specific test. But when I got the results back, I had a lower grade than I knew I should have. After going through the test, I realized that the teacher marked a correct answer wrong. I stood right up in front of the whole class and told my teacher they’d messed up and that I had gotten the answer right. A few buddies of mine never quite let that go. My competitiveness stayed with me when I went to college and was even more pronounced when I joined the college football team. I’d always been especially competitive in sports — the worst feeling in my life was losing a football game or wrestling match. Then, my college football coach told me something I’d never forget. One day after practice, he looks at me and says, “In the 45 years of my coaching career, you’re the most competitive person I’ve ever had to coach. You’ll have to find something to be competitive in for a career, or you’ll find yourself having a miserable home life.” This was a time in my life where I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do as far as a career went. But what he said really made me think. I started looking around to see if I could even find a job that would both fit in with a competitive lifestyle and be something I would enjoy. It was around then that one of my friends came back from law school and opened up his own firm here. Up until that point, I hadn’t known any attorneys, but getting back in touch with him sparked an idea. Becoming an attorney who fights for their clients might just be the
rooting those important lessons deep in me. I was also an Eagle Scout and often helped the schools and community I lived in and near, intent on making them a better place. Now, being an attorney, I can continue to help, reach out to, and support the people around me. The reward of practicing law is helping someone whose life is falling apart for one reason or another. I can guide them and help them pick up pieces for a solution, even if what they see is a hopeless situation. That is what I found through the help of both my coach and my good friend. That is why I do what I do and why I stick with the people — plain and simple. It’s why I work late nights and why we fight so hard for people. Every step makes a huge difference in so many cases. We’re helping people, and that’s why we attorneys do what we do. As the years have gone by, I’ve distanced myself from being competitive. I realized pretty early on that there are far better solutions than the feeling of “win at all costs” that drove me when I was younger. What’s usually in the best interests of my clients is to find a way to solve the problem rather than fighting the problem. That saves everyone from stress and, best of all, heartache.
My family at the grave of an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War.
perfect career for me, and I decided to try it out and see how I liked it. I started an internship at my friend’s office and quickly discovered that I really enjoyed the work that went into it. While my college football coach was one factor in my career path, my competitive nature wasn’t the only reason I fit so well in the legal field. I found myself drawn to the intellectual challenge of the job and to how often law involves finding solutions by thinking outside of the box. I also had a strong desire to be of use to my community, to make a difference for folks in difficult situations, which, for me, was the most significant pull. At a very early age, I knew I wanted to help people in the community. When I was growing up, I looked up to my dad, who was a teacher. He taught, helped, and served the community,
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