As I sit and ponder what to write in this article I am taken back to a time in my life when earning a living was as good as going to Las Vegas, putting $500,000 on red of the roulette wheel, and hoping that I win. Farming for a living is as good as gambling. This is my story.
Raised as a son of a share-crop farmer in Eastern Central Texas I have my share of memories that have shaped the man I am today. You see, from an early age of seven, my father put me to work driving tractors, chopping weeds, hauling hay, and feeding cows on the farm. As a child I worked from sun up to sundown. Sitting on a John Deere tractor through my teens I had a lot of time to consider my future. Long hours working beside grown men with my hands. Real Blue-Collar work.
I always wanted to be an attorney. I felt at a young age a desire to help people. More especially, people who may not be able to defend themselves, be it from poverty, lack of education, or upbringing. I was raised in a very small rural community of 1300 people near the Trinity River. Even to this day, the poverty level is still around 70% of the population.
I graduated from high school in 1988 achieving just about everything you can in high school. The work as a farmer’s son paid off teaching me how to persevere and never give up on my dreams. Accepted to Texas A&M University-College Station I joined the corps of cadets. I stayed seven days and due to homesickness, I withdrew and went back to the farm.
At the age of nineteen I married and soon had a family of four children to raise. Adopting my wife’s two daughters who were three and four, and two sons born by the age of twenty-two, with my dreams on hold, I did what I knew and returned to farming in 1990. I farmed, enduring droughts in 1996 and 1998 that devastated the crops and more precisely my financial situation. Losing hundreds of thousands of dollars due to the weather is a hard pill to swallow.
I continued fighting the good fight, farming, while raising my four children. On September 11, 2001, the world, and my life, changed forever. The realization of my own mortality sunk into my soul. For the first time in my life, I no longer felt safe in the United States. I realized that the same country I grew up in was not guaranteed to my children. I felt fear, but more than fear, I felt the desire to ignite my dreams of becoming an attorney. And the journey began.
Back to College
I earned an Associate’s Degree from Navarro College in 1990. But as you may know, a Bachelor’s Degree is a requirement for law school. So, I enrolled in an online program through Texas A&M University-Commerce. I achieved a Bachelors Degree in 2005 in Business. My preparation for law school entrance had begun. In the meantime, I started the MBA Program at the same University.
Getting Accepted to Law School
There were days upon days I felt like I was fighting windmills, like the stories of Don Quixote. The LSAT, it was a huge obstacle in my way, so I enrolled in a LSAT Preparation Course in Dallas. Driving 140 miles to Dallas and back home daily I learned how to take the test, and make a high enough grade to apply for law school. I gathered my reference letters and all other items necessary to complete the one-stop computer-based application process to law schools. When my LSAT scores came in, I anxiously sent out admission requests to every law school in Texas.
My first choice was SMU-Dedman School of Law. But I really didn’t think I was smart enough to get accepted, much less graduate, from such a prestigious school. I started receiving acceptance letters. South Texas College of Law, Texas Tech, Texas Wesleyan (now Texas A&M University School of Law), and lastly SMU. It was a no-brainer. SMU here I come.
At the age of thirty-six I appeared on SMU Law Campus eager, but terrified, of what was to come. Remember, I am a country boy, shy, timid, afraid to speak in crowds. Yet, I planned on conquering my fears, and I did. The night program is where my law school career began. A maximum course load of no more than nine hours a semester. After the first full year I petitioned the University to allow me to attend full time. My request accepted, I retired from farming after seventeen-years, once again a full-time student.
It was my goal to finish law school in three years. Now mind you, I finished the first year with only eighteen credit hours. Summer School, full-time Fall and Spring semesters, I made the round trip of one-hundred and forty miles a day for two years. I always went home daily so I could wake up, serve my kids breakfast, and take them to school. I look back on those three years of law school and cannot believe I actually succeeded and graduated. Me, a country boy, a share-croppers son, the first person to go to college in my family.
Time to Work
After passing the bar exam I hung my own shingle in my small hometown of 1300 people. And people came. I was alone running a law office with no training other than law school. I succeeded. I was now “helping people.” Many who could not help themselves. After one year I moved my office to the county seat. Seven years later I opened a second law office in the county just north of my home county.
Courage to Perform
When I have a bad day, I just think about my children’s faces. Seeing each one in my mind. I tell myself “I have a mission to defend the Constitution of the United States of America to my best ability with fairness to all.” The whole time hoping I can make a difference for my children’s future by defending those who cannot fight for themselves.
It has all been worth it. And I wouldn’t change a thing if I had a chance to do it again. My struggles have led to my passion to perform at the highest level. I now have six children, four grown, and two boys seven and eight years old. I thank them for giving me the courage I need to step out every-day against the oppression of the government. Owing the drive, perseverance, and courage I muster up on a daily basis to face adversaries, States Attorney’s, Federal Attorney’s, and Courts to my children. I do it for my children with love in my heart.
I have saved clients lives from life in prison. Helped families fight for their children. Protected innocent victims of abuse. All a part of my “mission” to seek justice in this world.