TEXAS TRIAL LAWYERS REVIEW
SAN ANTONIO | AUSTIN | EDINBURG | HOUSTON | LAREDO | DALLAS | EL PASO | CORPUS CHRISTI
Studying, Sacrifice, and Joy
Lessons From My Father
I wouldn’t be where I amwithout my father. Having been an attorney, and working now as a sitting judge, he was my single biggest inspiration to pursue a career in law. Not only did I get an inside look at the life of a lawyer growing up, but I also saw the struggle and sacrifice it took to become one. My father had just graduated high school when my sister and I were born. During our younger years, we saw himwork his way through law school —going to class, studying, and bagging groceries to pay for his education. Sometimes my sister and I would tag along with him. It gave us an opportunity to see things like the Northwestern University legal clinic and mess around among the shelves of leather-bound books. Back then, I was too young to understand what a lawyer was or why my dad was studying to be one. All I knew was it looked difficult. It wasn’t until my father got his first job as a corporate lawyer that I began to piece together what he’d been striving to achieve. He was hired by Zapata Corporation, one of George Bush’s oil companies, which meant we were moving to Houston. Seeing where he was working, in the heart of the city in a huge skyscraper, I realized just how far my father had come from bagging groceries. From that moment on, I understood the value of a good education. That lesson my father taught me was one he learned from his father. My grandfather worked as a custodian for most of his life and always emphasized this lesson to my father, saying,“Once you get an education, everything falls into place.”I know his advice and encouragement were a big source of support for my father, who provided the same to my
sister and me. Now, I try my best to do the same for my kids. I know frommy father’s example just how far learning can take you. As I’ve mentioned in past newsletters, my father’s work eventually took us to ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia where he really made a name for himself as a lawyer. After returning to the states, he went into private practice in Port Lavaca and Victoria, then becoming the first Hispanic County Judge for Calhoun County and now sitting as the County Court at Law Judge. Considering he moved to this country from north Mexico when he was just 15 years old, my father
certainly embodies the American dream. But more than the importance of education or the intricacies of being a lawyer, my father taught me to find joy in life. Sure, he may be stern when he’s on the bench, but outside of court, he’s all smiles. He’s quick with a joke, loves to laugh, and always finds time for his friends and family. This is especially true when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. My father loves to fish, and I’m grateful to live close enough to get out on the water with him.
Happy Father’s Day,
–Alex R. Hernandez Jr.
“I was too young to understand what a lawyer was or why my dad was studying to be one. All I knew was it looked difficult.”
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