sprinkles, colorful, sugar-5404045.jpg

Surrounded by sprinkles.

When I started practicing law, I worked for a family friend and great lawyer, Hutch Brock. Brock Law was a personal injury firm and I started as a law clerk before I graduated and passed the bar to become an associate attorney. Hutch’s firm was shockingly tech savvy. Way before it was cool to be paperless in law, we had no hard files. We had a system for storing emails, for communicating with paralegals, and for regularly touching base with clients. It was virtual. It was simple. It was peaceful. 

While the firm was extraordinarily modern, Hutch’s approach to life and law was the real deal to a young lawyer. He insisted on taking long family vacations every summer. He would check emails briefly in the morning and otherwise completely disconnect to be present with his wife and children. He was clear in his priorities. Family first. Work second. Hutch encouraged me to do the same. He believed that you could never truly recover from work and come back recharged with three-day weekends. You needed at least a week of vacation. Ten days or two weeks was even better. 

I left personal injury work in 2013 to transition to the world of estate, trust, and fiduciary litigation. While I have never missed personal injury work, I have sorely missed Hutch’s philosophy on life and law. I’ve never had a mentor better exemplify work-life balance. He was an excellent lawyer but a better mentor. I don’t think I even realized at the time how much an impact he had on me and my career. 

As an estate and trust litigator, I have had wonderful bosses. I’ve been surrounded by very bright lawyers and even brighter paralegals. I learned so much about the practice of law from them and am truly grateful. But, I’ve missed Hutch’s philosophy. I’ve missed the focus on life outside of law. I think I’ve been constantly searching for that mentality since I left his practice. 

Now, ten years later, it’s my turn to be the mentor I’ve sought in this area of practice. It’s my turn to found a business grounded in service to others and adventure. To prioritize life before work and be a better lawyer, mediator, and coach because of it. To ensure that I’m living and working in alignment with my values. 

Hutch unexpectedly passed away last year leaving another lesson: life is short and unpredictable. If you’re unhappy in your day to day, you need to change it. You have to find the things and people that are your “sprinkles” in life (his metaphor that I’ve adopted) and keep them close. 

While I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to charm a judge like Hutch could, I know I can run a business grounded in the same philosophy. One full of intelligence, respect, and very clear priorities. One surrounded by sprinkles.