My career as an attorney has been unique. I began my profession after graduation with the Judge Advocate General with the Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review at the Appellate Defense Division. Representing court martialed sailors and marines on appeal in front of Supreme Court judges paved a rare perspective when I transitioned to the private sector.
After being discharged, the majority of my career was then spent as a private sector attorney. Throughout the years, using my knowledge and experience of the different courts I have litigated in front of, I have been able to represent a wide variety of clients. While most attorney’s practice is in a single area of law, I was able to represent members of our military, as well as big corporations, banks, small businesses, local government, and individuals in need.
When it came to big business and government, I had a catch phrase I lived my life by. Make friends and influence people. I chose to always live by example. You can influence anyone – but if you take an aggressive stand on the outset you immediately turn them off. Make friends and then share your view, and they are more apt to listen to you and your point of view.
In order to influence others in every aspect of life to continue to build those bridges, I volunteered my time with various organizations. My time spent as a member on the Board of Trustees at a local college gave me insight from a diverse group of members ranging from government, college professors, students, and other attorneys. I also was a Board of Trustee member for a local museum, as well as being a member of a local hospital’s Cornerstone Society.
From these philanthropic organizations, I was able to invest in rich culture and diverge myself into meeting new people who would lead me to new bridges to build. Many people and companies are in need of legal assistance but do not know who they can trust; they forego their right as an American to fight for their rights. I took on many cases for people over the years after they were introduced to me through these organizations, whereas I would not have had those opportunities.
As one of the managing partners of my firm, I actively encouraged my employees to volunteer their time and build relationships with other groups they meet throughout their profession. There are copious amounts of law firms, and many everyday citizens do not know where to begin to look when they need representation. I encouraged my firm to reach out and be familiar with other firms in the region; being able to co-exist and refer cases to one another was my main objective for the greater good.
Practicing jurisprudence was always a way of building the bridge to gap the hole in society that left too many defenseless, and I wanted to give these people an avenue to justice. By working together with like-minded firms, my mentality was to give a voice to those that did not have one.
As a mentor to over 100 attorneys in my firm, I made it a top priority to influence them away from the greed of the profession and to remember to remain honest and fair. As a result, our company was respected, it flourished, and we were a well-known name in the community through our altruistic good deeds.
One such example was the encouraging of taking on pro bono cases. Pro bono cases are a necessity to build coalitions. By taking on these types of cases, a lawyer can stay aware of unethical lawyers who take advantage of others trust, and bridge different groups together in an effort for justice. Most attorneys have an off-putting stance on pro bono work. I made it a goal to ensure my employees understood the importance of taking on these pro bono cases
I willingly took on many pro bono cases presented to me. One of my biggest cases was a contested will case where two Catholic Nuns were the victim of fraud by a lawyer and their accountant who had stolen their inheritance. I was successful at trial and successful on appeal. The end result was with the two Nuns obtaining back every dollar they were entitled to and incurred no attorney fees in the process.
This victory in court was also successful for my colleagues as I could share my success on helping out two people in need, and this provided them with the foresight to participate. They saw the importance on serving the public, and what an impact it would have on the community. As a result, my company took on more pro bono work. I also saw a greater increase of volunteering outside the office, outside companies gave us more respect – which led to more business – all of which led to a substantial feeling of good will in our company.