Of these, it's pre-law that I intend to make my mark. I will attend law school and become a practicing attorney -- hopefully in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I've been interested in law as a career for the longest time; as long as I can remember. The source of this is very clear and has never been in question.
* * *
My Uncle Mike is two years younger than my dad and, for the past 22 years has been a practicing attorney in Southern California. A general practitioner with an emphasis in civil litigation, most of his cases take him to Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside Counties.
I was actually born in Santa Ana, California, not moving to Portland until I was almost eight months old. My Uncle Mike lived near my parents at the time. In fact, my older brothers stayed with he and my Aunt Amy when my mom was in labor with me and my dad was pacing in the waiting room in expectations of news that his third child had been born.
Whenever Uncle Mike and Aunt Amy would visit (most often with their own children, Laurie who is two years older than me, and David who is three years younger) or when we would visit them, I was always fascinated with stories about his cases and his work. Despite criticism or jokes directed toward attorneys, I'd always felt it was a noble and necessary profession. In many, many instances, a client's life can be greatly affected by the outcome of their case -- and specifically, the effectiveness of his or her attorney.
During those visits, I often found myself sitting with the adults as they discussed stories, including Uncle Mike's cases. Forget that my siblings and cousins were outside playing or in other rooms of the house consumed with their own conversations. I wanted to be there to learn as much I could. To say I was enthralled would me a major understatement.
From an early age, my parents learned that I have a high aptitude for learning and gathering information, and deciphering it. My comprehension level has always been exceptionally high and I possess a genius-level intelligence quotient (IQ). My father has often told me I am a lot like my uncle as we are similar in our ways of analytical thinking.
For my uncle's part, he has told me on numerous occasions that with my mind, I would make make for an excellent attorney. He once told me, and he was likely being overly complmentary, that if I ever went up against him in court, he would just quit working on his case out of futility since I would beat him.
It was when I was about 10 years old that I decided that I wanted to become an attorney in my professional life. Uncle Mike has been an amazing in his nurturing and encouragement.
* * *
As usual, my uncle has a huge slate of cases. He is mentoring a young attorney in his office, and employs two law clerks, and an assistant. As this summer approached, it appeared that one of his civil cases would going to go to trial. It was then that he called me with his offer.
He told me a little about the case (under the condition of the information being privileged) and offered me what I might just refer to as the opportunity of a lifetime; at least, thus far in my lifetime. Uncle Mike called it a working vacation where I would come down to his home in Westminster, California and he would show me the process that he goes through by preparing for a trial. This education was to include everything from case review to jury selection to witness preparation to trial observation.
Oh, and it would also give me a chance to visit he and Aunt Amy for the first time in four years.
Needless to say, I leapt at the chance to observe the trial process.
In early June, my uncle began sending me the case profile and other information to get me up to speed. I spent the last two weeks of June doing just that.
* * *
On the morning of July 5 while at work at my family's business, I received a call from my uncle. The trial was to start on July 10 -- the following Tuesday -- with jury selection. He had just found out the actual start date that morning. I was to fly down on Saturday the seventh and begin learning the following day.
I was also thrilled to find out I will be sitting at the plaintiff's table during the jury selection process. Uncle Mike and the respondent's counsel will sift through the jury pool to attempt to find the 12 people who will be most advantageous for their respective cases. He wants me to essentially keep score of their answers. Not that he needs me to keep track of it for him, but that it will give me an idea of how that process works and what he looks for in a potential juror.
During the trial itself, I will sit in the gallery of the courtroom observing, learning and taking notes. It will be a nearly empty gallery, as the courtroom will be closed due to the fact our client is a minor.
While I'm wide-eyed at this working vacation, I know I am fortunate to have this opportunity.
Note: This will be the first of a series of blogs regarding this experience.