In the spring of 1992, I celebrated two major life changes: Graduation from law school and the arrival of our son, Avery – my law school baby. Here’s a photo the day I received my J.D. degree with our children – 6-month old Avery, along with Jason and Cortnei – and my ever-supportive Mom, Esmelin Clarke.
It’s true. I gave birth to Avery while attending law school and two weeks after giving birth, returned to our class trial practice competition, which we won. That semester I also made the Dean’s list and won the Book Award in 2 classes. For all of this – I’m glad I was young! – my classmates honored me with: The Tenacity and True Grit Award.
This past month, we celebrated my law school baby’s 29th birthday. Avery remains as handsome as ever and all grown up. After nearly three decades, I’ve also grown into an experienced disability lawyer – and it’s a good time to revisit why I decided to choose the law as a career – and why I still love what I do!
Before law school, I was a registered nurse and witnessed first-hand when patients didn’t receive the quality of care they deserved. That’s when I began thinking that the law is another way to make a positive difference for my patients. After graduating from law school, it wasn’t long before I combined my medical experience with my knowledge of the law specializing as a disability lawyer.
I’m still excited to get up every morning, working hard to ensure my clients receive the justice they deserve. Many work in labor intensive jobs, often working two or more jobs to make ends meet. Sustaining a serious injury or illness can easily throw them into destitution, unable to care for their families.
I fight for my clients as I would for my own family because my mother is like one of these everyday heroes. She was a nursing assistant who suffered several injuries, but kept working until her body wore out and was forced to file for Social Security Disability. These are the people I fight for every day with all of the tenacity and true grit I showed when I graduated from law school almost 30 years ago.