Have you ever had a dream or goal yet had no idea how to accomplish it? I did. Ever since I was 5 years old, I told my family I was going to go to Harvard Law School and then become President. It got a lot of laughs and reactions of “That’s so cute.” There was no encouragement, support, or even a “You can do it.” In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. This was probably due more to my family’s small town, working class philosophy, and perhaps seemed an overreaching goal, rather than their opinion on my ability to achieve it.
I gave up on that dream, but for years have always wondered. So, I did not go to Harvard and have never held public office. What I did do, however, is take the biggest risk of my life when I was 28, when I quit my job, moved 3 hours from home, and went to law school. I then took an even bigger risk, leaving my first attorney job in my hometown to move to Metro Detroit for a temporary position. To put this into context, I grew up six miles from the largest town of 2,000 people in the County, where generations of my family have resided within a few hundred yards of each other. I had only been to Detroit 2 or 3 times in my entire life, had just a few hundred bucks in my bank account, and had nowhere to live. It was scary, to say the least. To top it off, I was going to work for one of the best trial attorneys in the State, and I had never tried a civil jury trial. That was back in 2015, and I have been working alongside Dave Christensen ever since.
On reflection, it was completely worth the risk. Each time I take a case, argue a motion, demand trial by jury, there is an associated risk. The risk of losing, or change, is frightening and can be paralyzing for many – and the reason people don’t often leave a job, move away from everything and everyone they’ve ever known, and jump into a new career. But to not fear risk is to deny your natural human emotions. My advice to law students and new attorneys is to go ahead and take risks. Be scared, fail, get back up, and do it again.