I often get asked some variation of the question “when did you know you wanted to become a lawyer?” The easy answer is high school. In fact, I recall in the senior edition of our school newspaper, I predicted that I would go to law school, which amazes me because despite knowing everything and nothing at the same time at the ripe age of 18, I still managed to understand what was in store for me on some basic level. Truth be told, I have always known that I was going to be an attorney. I just had no idea what the journey from point A to point B would look like.
I grew up in a family of civil and community servants who have instilled in me, a strong sense of community and desire to help others. I realized from an early age, as we were making campaign posters for my parents, who were running for seats on our local village council, that I have a voice, and I should use it to express myself, change what I do not like, and help people who cannot help themselves. That ideology became an integral part of not only my career but who I am as a basic human being.
Somewhere in the grunge of the 90’s between summer music festivals and college classes, I confirmed my identity: I’m a fighter. An advocate. A listener. A counselor. A sentry. Great I found myself; so now what? The only natural next step in my mind was law school.
While I learned basic tenets of legal theory in law school, I really learned how to practice law in my subsequent clerking and job experience. My background is diverse, ranging from the bowels of the nastiest jails, to hair salons, to the top of some of the finest 5-star resorts in the world. My book of business is a parable with story arcs involving international investors, gang related crimes, indigent victims of intimate partner violence, hospitality business issues and family law issues. But for every bit of divergence in my client base and experience, there is one thing they all have in common: they are people, needing to be heard and validated, and help navigating through an area they do not understand. In my time practicing, I have served as counselor, shoulder (on which to cry), negotiator, translator, mediator, and advocate—all in the name of helping my client steer through their legal issues with as much of a sense of well-being as possible.
My way doesn’t work with everyone—and that’s okay! Some people need attorneys whose offices are in marbled halls and who offer a delicious variety of sodas, k-cups, and teas to sip on while the they wait in a cushy waiting room stocked with the latest local business journal with which to busy themselves before their 15 minute interview with an attorney. I mean no disrespect to my highly qualified colleagues—their practice method obviously works too. I have had the pleasure of working with a vast array of attorneys, from the angrily gesticulating pontificators to the collaborative and peaceful sage on the mountain-top. That’s the best thing about practicing law. All attorneys travel from point A to point B, but our paths are very different and we all offer different ways to serve our clients.
Though my career path has not involve extensive beverage selections, I have learned that client care more importantly comes from the human service aspect of practicing law. While I may not have six varieties of soda to offer you, you will have my undivided attention. And you will be heard. You will have my time, patience, and respect, and I will advocate for you as diligently as I can. Because regardless of what your legal issue entails, everyone deserves that in equal measure.
And if the beverage selection is important, I do have a Biggby Coffee on the first floor of my office building--so come have a cup of coffee with me, and let’s work together to get you through your legal issues.