by Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire

(Tina Won the 2020 Mississippi Press Award in the General Interest Column for this article)

Today, I met with a nonprofit client to review some paperwork and create new contracts for her use in upcoming projects.

As we worked through the meeting, my client commented on the fact that she had an invention that she planned to put into production, and she needed my help to protect it.

I’m not a patent or copyright lawyer. This is a specialized area that I truly do not have time to delve into. However, another client had introduced me to a lawyer in New Orleans a while back who is handling a trademark case for them.

I hunted down his number in my Rolodex, gave him a call, and before we knew it, my nonprofit client and the New Orleans lawyer were chatting like old friends. They made an appointment to meet to make sure that her invention was protected before she shared it with the manufacturer, and he quoted her a great price for the project.

As our meeting ended, she gave me a hug and told me that she had waited her whole life to meet lawyers like us.

I realized that that this client had come to me as a referral from another nonprofit. That nonprofit have been referred to me by a trust client. That trust client had met me at a senior seminar the first year that I was in private practice.

This afternoon, I realized just how many of my clients are my clients because of referrals. I realized just how small our coast is when you think about all of the things that connect everyone of us.

Back in school, we played the game six degrees of separation that involved how Kevin Bacon, within six movies, could be connected to just about every movie in Hollywood.  It originates from the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other.

That’s a pretty cool concept.

This afternoon, I met with a real estate broker and several inspectors/contractors to walk through a house that was under contract for sale. As I greeted the plumber, the inspector, the air-conditioning person, the landscaper and the pool inspector, I thought about how I knew each one of them. One from high school, one who is now married to a client, one I met through my husband, and one I met at a seminar I gave at my Law Firm about small businesses several years ago.

I guess the point of this week’s column is that we need to realize how connected we all are. It’s not our political views that join us together as a people. It’s not our cultural backgrounds. It’s not blood relatives. It’s not selective groups of friends.

We’re all bound by the fact that we are part of the human race.

We are all born with an inherent need to be connected to someone.

The desire to be a part of something bigger than who we are and the need to look back at our years here on Earth at the end of our lives and realize that we made a difference.

Today, I met with a nonprofit client and, just by reaching out to another connection, I was able to make a difference in her future plans. I admit. It felt good.

As a lawyer, sometimes that is a rare feeling. I work in a field that is, by its very nature, competitive and negative at times.

I chose this field because I knew that I could handle the competition and the stress of being a lawyer. But sometimes, all lawyers need a break from the combative nature of our field, and we just need to feel good about our career choice.

Today, I felt connected. Not by six degrees or six social connections, but merely connected to one person as we shared a common goal of making sure that her future plans were fully established and fully protected.

This week, I encourage you all to reach out to one person. To see how your connections can help them further their cause, their goals, their dreams. It’s time that we stop putting up barriers that separate us instead of connecting us.  Just think, everyone on the coast, everyone in our state, could literally be connected by a mere six social connections.

Once you stop viewing people you meet by what makes us different, and instead look at them and realize what connects us, perhaps we will all start seeing the world in a different light.

Maybe it’s time that we all stop and look around us and realize just how much we all have in common.