My Story as a Millennial Lawyer

AuthorJohn P. Box Jr.
My Story as a Millennial Lawyer
In my home office, a plaque hangs on the wall with an Italian inscription:
“La Bedont Famiglia: Una Linea Sangue del L’Avvocati” (The Bedont
Family: A Blood Line of Lawyers). On the plaque are the names of the
lawyers from the Italian side of my mom’s family, the Bedont family.
The last entry on the plaque is mine: “John Patrick Box, Jr., Georgetown
University, 2007.” The plaque is a family treasure, reminding me that the
practice of law is a noble endeavor that flows through the blood of my
family. The story begins with my grandfather, the patriarch of the Bedont
family in America.
My grandfather, Attilio W. Bedont, was the son of Italian immigrants.
He grew up in the coal mining community of Kemmerer, Wyoming, with
a humble floor beneath his feet, the smell of coal hanging thick in the air,
and the allure of American exceptionalism in his young, idealistic mind.
A smart kid, he graduated from high school at 16, but his family didn’t
have the resources to send their bright, precocious son to college. Instead,
he joined his father in the coal mine, where he worked for two years
before a most fortuitous event occurred: he severed parts of two fingers
in a conveyor belt accident. As a member of the coal miners’ union (under
a contract no doubt negotiated by a good lawyer), he received workers’
compensation to offset the financial impact of his accident. He took that
money straight to the University of Wyoming, where he enrolled as an
18-year-old freshman.
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