by Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire
Today, I had lunch with a friend and fellow member of the Bar: Charles Mikhail.
We met at the Whistle Stop in Wiggins and caught up with each other’s lives.
How the families were doing. What cases we are working on…future plans for our practices.
After a few minutes, he looked at me and said, “So, you’ve had your firm open in Wiggins for a year. How does this branch of your practice compare to your main firm in Biloxi?”
I took a sip of my sweet tea to gain a little time so that I could collect the many answers that bubbled to the surface…and to formulate an answer that would encompass what the last year…heck…the last three and a half years have been.
I walked away from a very lucrative corporate career to open my own firm in 2015.
The fringe benefits of the corporate office. The 25 years of guaranteed paychecks. The benefits and bonus packages that come with having a title that is located on the top rungs of the corporate ladder.
I didn’t just walk away…I dove into private practice.
What can I say? I was eager to branch out on my own…and I was naive as to what it would actually entail.
The long days. The sleepless nights.
I leaned back, and thought about a normal day in my practice.
I go to bed around 11:30 pm. Usually wake up between 3-4 am to mull over what happened the day before or mentally review what is on my schedule when the firm opens…then turn on a movie I’ve seen at least ten times to help shut my mind down so I can get back to sleep. Then I worry about upcoming bills and about making sure my busy practice stays busy until I drift back off to sleep.
Wake up at 5 am. Check my emails. Review my day’s calendar.
Get up. Feed and walk the pups. Feed the inside and outside cats. Have coffee with the husband before he heads off to sell and buy houses for his clients.
Get dressed and leave so I can be at the office at 8 am…an hour before the firm opens.
Do a solid hour of paperwork while the phones are still silent.
Then, turn on the lights, and get the firm ready for the day.
For the next 10-12 hours, I’m in court, answering phone calls, meeting with clients, presenting at luncheons, making plans for the next week, working on paperwork, and managing the other attorneys…answering their questions…helping them with their cases.
Attending professional meetings to help market my firm and attorneys.
Giving seminars for local groups on estate planning and small business legal issues.
After the firm closes, I stay a few extra hours, working on paperwork…getting files ready for court.
Finishing motions and answers and counterclaims for clients. Paying a few bills.
If I’m in Wiggins, I leave around 5 pm and stop by the Biloxi firm to check mail and work a few hours.
If I’m in Biloxi, I leave the office around 8 or 9 pm.
Back in my corporate days, I used to look at the clock and wonder why it had to move so very slowly.
Now, I blink, and four or five hours have passed.
It’s absolutely amazing.
I get to hold the divorcee’s hand as she talks to the judge about her abusive spouse.
She cries on my shoulder when the divorce is final. When the protective order is granted to protect her and her children.
I stand for pictures with smiling clients and their kids next to the judge who just granted the adoption.
I wipe tears from my eyes after that phone call from a client’s son or daughter, letting me know that they have passed from this Earth.
I get hugs from elderly clients who leave my office with a solid estate plan in place that helped them gain peace of mind about their affairs and their heirs.
I have clients stop by to give me and the others in my firm fresh yard eggs.
Freshly baked cakes and cookies.
To simply have a cup of Linda’s amazing coffee.
Even Auggie Bear, the resident law office Pomeranian, and Chrissy, my lab pup who sometimes accompanies this Blue Jean Lawyer to her office receive treats.
For a few months there, Chrissy even had a secret admirer who sent her Amazon packages full of dog biscuits, dog toys, and kibble.
I grinned at Charles and told him that Wiggins wasn’t much different than Biloxi.
Both towns have clients who have legal needs.
They are both full of good and honest hardworking people who put their trust in me…who lay their faith in the fact that I’m putting over seven years of undergrad and law school education, those long hours’ studying, the $250,000 or so spent on books and tuition, the Bar exam prep studying nights and on weekends while working full-time, and the long months and years afterwards actually learning how to be a lawyer…to good use.
Both firms are filled each day with clients from local communities and clients who travel up to three hours to meet with us.
It’s an amazing feeling to know that a client values your services so much that they are willing to drive past 40-50 other law firms to come to yours.
Each day is different.
Each day brings a new challenge.
Each day is an amazing privilege.
That is a day in the life of this blue jean lawyer.
I wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.