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Unwavering Gratitude My Father’s Massive Influence on My Life
I went through law school as quickly as I possibly could, taking the maximum amount of credits I possibly could each summer. I guess I was just already programmed in that routine — I just didn’t see any sense in taking summers off when everybody else, including the actual lawyers, all worked through the season. As a result, I finished in two and a half years, which allowed me to start practicing about six months earlier than I would have been able to otherwise. I wouldn’t realize it until later, but this extra half a year would go on to have a massive impact on my life — it gave me an extra six months to practice alongside my dad before he passed.
he was an extremely experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney, and was eager to pass on his wisdom. I can’t even imagine how it would have been if I had ended up at one of those big commercial firms, without somebody to take me under their wing. It could have taken double the amount of time it took for me to get where I am today. Truly, I just feel like I owe everything to my dad — any success I’ve had I attribute directly to the values and knowledge he’s instilled in me, both in and outside of the profession. But it was far from all business all the time with my dad. One of his best traits was his sense of humor. He was one of those guys that passes out nicknames to everyone around him. Like if I was in my office, fuming about something that’d gone wrong in a case, he’d come in with a sarcastic “Well hey there, Mr. Jollyman!” He just had a knack for making even the driest work fun. Certainly some of the best times I’ve had practicing law were with him in the office with me, cracking jokes. Almost everybody that came in contact with my dad immediately liked him. A couple years after my dad died, I was working with a particular defense attorney for the first time. He had known my dad, and litigated against him a lot. He sat down in front of me and went on and on about how much he liked my dad, how he was “a gentleman to work with,” and how funny he was. With Father’s Day right around the corner, my dad’s been consistently on my mind. I simply cannot overstate the importance of his influence on my life. He supported me aggressively, every step of the way. I just hope he’d be proud of the firm as it is today, and the work I’ve continued in his absence. Like I said, I owe it all to him.
I worked at the D.A.’s office before coming over to my dad’s firm, and I’m glad I switched when I had the opportunity, because the lessons I gleaned from my dad working here with him were absolutely invaluable. I think that I acquired three or even four years of experience crammed into the year and a half we spent practicing together. At first, I basically spent my time shadowing him, which was fantastic, because
- William F. “Trey” Underwood, III
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