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My Double Life As An Attorney

September 15, 2012

In general, I play it safe. That’s why I went to law school instead of pursuing my Masters in Fine Arts. Gosh, I wanted that latter degree. Always, always, always – I only wanted to be a writer. If that wasn’t true, I wouldn’t have saved everything I had every written (and I’m not a nostalgic kind of person).

As a practical person, however, I equated “writer” with “penniless wretch” and “dreamer.” Accordingly, I chose the practical route: I went to law school and incurred over a hundred thousand dollars in debt, then graduated the year the law market tanked. Smart, huh?

Here’s the thing, though. As trite as it sounds (especially for a writer), I really do see this as part of my journey. In a lot of my books, I use lawyers for comedic effect (Really, it’s not hard to poke fun at us). And, more importantly, my experience as a lawyer gives me passion for both my chosen fields: law and writing.

I am a lawyer for veterans seeking disability compensation, and I care about what I do. These men and women served our country, and the nation and the Department of Veterans Affairs should be falling all over themselves to make sure they receive what they deserve. Instead, these veterans often find themselves waiting for years to receive compensation for injuries they received during service. In many cases, they receive less than what they are entitled to, and in other cases, they receive nothing at all.

As an attorney, this is hard to see because I deal with these individuals on a personal level. And this is all enhanced by why I got started in these field of law – I helped my father with his own claim (which was granted just two weeks ago, after three years of fighting).

The book I’m writing now speaks to these veterans’ plights. I have spent a great deal of time researching it because it is extremely important to me to get it right. This book is about a young veteran’s struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as told through the eyes of his younger brother. To my knowledge, there is no other book on this subject through this vantage point, and certainly not told by a veterans’ lawyer.

Given these unique circumstances, I have the opportunity to tell a story that is important. It is important not only because these veterans deserve to have a voice, but also because the public has not heard them. Most people don’t know what “PTSD” is, or how it affects our veterans, especially the young ones. To be able to share this is a responsibility I take very seriously.

I could not fulfill this responsibility if I was not a lawyer. If I had not fought for my father, and for these veterans, I would not have even considered writing this book. I wouldn’t have known about this issue. As it is, I am lucky enough to have found a legal career that not only gives me passion in that field, but gives me the inspiration for another. And hopefully, with that inspiration, I can share these veterans’ stories.

My very first book, ever (1992) -Yes, Judy Blume, I plagarized your work. Sorry…

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