The Human Spirit
Rob C. Jarosh, Hirst Applegate, LLP Cheyenne, Wyoming
Four things make me most proud: 1) being Sharon Gatenby's1 son; 2) being Cathy's2 husband; 3) being Xander's and Addi's3 dad; and 4) being a Wyoming lawyer. What's interesting to me about the latter is that it might not have made the short list without the word "Wyoming" before the word "lawyer."
Don't get me wrong; I'm proud to be a lawyer. But as a young adult I always told myself I would not be defined by my "work" as I grew older. I believe ours is a noble profession and that we play a critical role in society. Still, early on in my career I sometimes felt a blush when people asked me, "What do you do for a living?" My expectation was that the likely response to my answer would be a lawyer joke, a disapproving "oh," or even both. I wondered which would sound more appealing - answering, lawyer or attorney. I sometimes used to think about how best to choreograph my reaction. My own lawyer joke? A debate about what Shakespeare really meant in Henry VI, Part 2? The oft-repeated mantra, "Nobody likes lawyers until they need one?"
Over the years, though, I have come to feel immense pride associated with the fact that I practice law here, in Wyoming, with all of you. Sometimes now my answer to what I do for a living is, "I'm a Wyoming lawyer," even when I'm talking to people in Wyoming. It gives me an opportunity to brag about our brand. Wyoming lawyers are largely independent, spirited, and thoughtful. The typical Wyoming lawyer is resourceful, versatile, and gracious. With very few exceptions, Wyoming lawyers are respectful to one another in a stressful, demanding, and adversarial profession that can get the best of you on most days. Finally, and this is particularly important to me, many are volunteers and leaders in their communities, striving every day to make life better for the people around them.
I know all of this to be true not just because I practice law here, and not just because I have practiced law elsewhere. I know it because I have spent the last three years traveling...