I have been practicing law for 47 years. To help finance my studies (earning a bachelor’s degree in finance and a law degree from the University of Miami), I held a variety of jobs while in college. During my summers in undergraduate, I drove taxis in New York City.
In a typical day, I would make 30 or 40 trips. My most memorable experience was when I drove Wilt Chamberlain, the former NBA standout player. In law school, I valeted cars at major horse racing tracks. The most important lesson I learned through this job was the value of hard work and doing the job to the best of your ability. Also, the job paid fairly well, but since it was a service job, what I made depended on my performance.
For my first job in the legal field, I was the clerk for the state of Florida Attorney General Earl Faircloth. The main office is in Tallahassee, but I was in Miami. I had a friend who worked in the Miami office, and he introduced me to the head of that office. In the Miami office, we primarily handled criminal appeals representing the state of Florida. It was our job to uphold the convictions obtained by the state attorney’s office. As the clerk, it was my responsibility to do legal research on issues in the cases that the AG’s office was handling. My hours were flexible, but I typically worked 4 hours a day depending on my availability. Prior to this experience, I had never been in a law office and I was the only intern in the office. This could have been intimidating for some people, but I enjoyed the challenge and thought the work was interesting. The biggest lesson this experience taught me was how to properly do legal research and the importance on not taking shortcuts. I learned to be diligent and check every detail. This is something I have applied throughout my career. Upon graduation and passing the bar, I was an assistant attorney general for Florida. Since then, I have continued to work in the legal field.
—As told to Natalie Bunch