I find myself in my study looking out the window. I smile to myself, feeling both a blessed and lucky. Opposite me, I glanced at a picture of a man fishing with his son. Next to that is a wall calendar that shows the current month. June 2018. I look out the window again, and whisper life is good.
I look back to the time when I transferred to the University of Michigan on my sophomore year. At that time, I was taking up history, just because it was the one nearest to my hand in the tick boxes of courses that the University offered. I really do not know how I got into law, maybe it was because my best buddies on campus were law students, or maybe because the University’s law school produced a significant number of outstanding alumni. Or maybe, I just had it in me. For whatever the reason, my law studies became my anchor. Whereas before, I would have described myself as a drifter, not really knowing what I’d do in life. My law studies had my father, who have always said that I would not amount to anything, very perplexed.
When I graduated, I immediately accepted an offer for a support staff position at the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, where I interned. Life there was tough, where we worked long hours preparing for various cases against criminals from all walks of life. When I passed the bar, I continued working for the PA Office, but now as an assistant prosecuting attorney.
It was doubly taxing for me back then, but I treasured the opportunity to be able to handle a lot of different cases, which involved different laws. What’s more, I hated losing and I was growing addicted to the strings of successful prosecutions that I was adding to my portfolio.
In the course of my work, I came face to face with hotshot lawyers and big, established law firms. One of them was Hertz, Schram & Saretsky, a nationally known criminal law firm. I was prosecuting a murder case against James Burdick. I lost the case, but won Burdick’s admiration. What followed was a dizzying flurry of offers from Hertz Schram, something that is not new to me back then. The Hertz Schram offer was different, however. It was highly attractive, financial-wise, and it offered an opportunity for me to work not as an associate, but as a partner.
I was soon on the other side of the fence, defending criminals that in the past year, I would have put to jail in an instant. Still, the successes kept coming. I earned a reputation for being a thoroughly prepared lawyer. Indeed, it was my objective to “out-prepare” and “out-research” everyone on the other side of the courtroom.
Three months ago, I withdrew as a partner at Hertz Schram, much to the dismay of James Burdick, who over time became my mentor and trusted confidante. I felt that I have spent enough time with their practice, and while the friendship and fond memories will linger, I decided to open my own firm.
It was a risk, but I feel that it is worth it. When I announced my plans to my family, my mother was overjoyed while my father fell silent. Two days ago, I received a Fed-ex package that contained the same picture hanging on the wall across me. With it was a note from my father, written in his cursive script: Congratulations, son.
The door to my study opens. My wife comes in, holding my son in her arms. She offers me a penny for my thoughts, while Brent is cooing, tilting his head and motioning for me to get him. It’s a Sunday, we’re off to church.
As I close the door behind me, I look back at my study. It contains everything that happened to my life so far: my law books, framed newspaper clippings, a folder holding the articles of incorporation and other documents for my new law firm, pictures of my wife, my son, my parents and siblings, and of course, that fishing picture.