The Law School (graciously) granted me a J.D. in May 2009 amid, what was described to me, as the worst legal job market in fifty years. Rather than spend the summer searching frantically for a job, I focused on the Missouri Bar exam. I passed and the State of Missouri (also graciously) conferred a license to practice law upon me in September 2009. I was a licensed attorney with no job and little prospects.
A friend approached me complaining about a speeding ticket. I offered to have a go at working with the local prosecutor and figured out how to file my entry and negotiate a plea deal. A little later another friend approached me about drafting a contract and promissory note. I did a little research and followed through. I was approached about serving as a Guardian ad Litem in an adoption proceeding, which I accepted and studied adoption law furiously for 48 hours in advance of the hearing. I decided I would pull the trigger and hang out a shingle. I shared office space with a good friend/colleague, who referred work to me while he ran his first political campaign. We were two young attorneys sitting at a single desk in a small office plotting our career paths.
Fast forward three years and I had a full-blown law practice in Mid-Missouri. I had handled matters including speeding tickets, divorces, misdemeanor and felony criminal matters, adoptions, wills, real estate transactions, personal injury claims, consumer protection claims, creditors rights, corporate formation, some light intellectual property, and a unique, albeit unsuccessful, petition to dissolve a civil union in Missouri. The scope of my practice was only limited by my interest in and willingness to adapt to my clients needs and goals.
In the late Fall, 2012, Veterans United Home Loans offered me a position as in-house counsel for a rapidly growing mortgage company headquartered in Columbia. My experience in a multidisciplinary practice and my background in business prior to law school proved to be valuable in securing the position. Now I work with one (very large) client that operates in all 50 states. Working “in-house” presents new and exciting challenges every day, and my diverse legal background has proven itself useful on several occasions already.
I attribute any success almost wholly to the support of my friends, family, and colleagues. A little good fortune didn’t hurt, either. A significant portion of being an attorney is just “figuring it out”, and then applying that knowledge consistently. I realized early that I had a network already in place in Columbia, so I capitalized on that network to form and build a successful law practice. I translated that law practice into a position with an exceptional company with tremendous potential. I’m thankful every day that I have the privilege of being an attorney.