A colleague recently told me that he was planning to retire at the end of the year. I met this gentleman in 1995 when I was a young attorney in the Lumpkin County Georgia District Attorney's office. I was a young ADA prosecuting his client. He was an experienced and respected criminal defense attorney.
Needless to say, he beat me pretty handily. However, I learned a great deal about humility from him. He had every right to brag about his win and rub it in. Yet, he did neither. Instead, we struck up a twenty-two-year friendship.
Two years later, I was a young criminal defense attorney, and he took the time to be helpful and to be my friend.
As a friend and mentor, this gentleman helped me have the confidence to go out on my own. It was not as if he could do it for me. I had to do it. However, his encouragement and example allowed me to see possibilities.
I would tell the readers his name, but I am sure he wants to collect a few more legal fees on the way out the door. When he takes down his shingle, I will mention him by name.
He was not the only person who set this example. Other more experienced attorneys also encouraged me. One person, in particular, should be mentioned. In January 2016, we lost Gainesville Georgia Attorney Dan Summer.
Dan was truly one of the nicest men I have ever met. I remember handling cases against him as a young prosecutor, and I remember seeing him for years after in the halls of courthouses throughout North Georgia.
The interesting thing is that I did not know Dan very well on a personal level, yet every time I saw him he would engage me in conversation. He always offered an encouraging word or some advice. He was truly a decent person, and I miss him.
As the owners and managing partner of a law firm, I try to remember what I have learned from others. Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me. However, I try to think about those who helped me along the way and impart some of that wisdom to the attorneys and staff at my office.
The team of attorneys at my office are impressive people in their own right. They fight for the rights of our client every day. I am lucky to be associated with them. I am also fortunate that others took the time to spend their valuable time with me when I was a young attorney.