In 1967, I graduated from St. Joseph College. I went to college because I had absolutely no idea what else to do after high school. That state of mind did not change with a college degree. I had no idea what the future held for me. But, my country did. As 1967 came to an end my somewhat rudderless drifting now ceased to exist. 1968 was a dramatic and vital year for our country and, as it turned out, for me as well. In that year three things happened that changed my life forever.
First, I was faced with the draft and decided if I was going to have to serve it might as well be with the best. I joined the Marine Corps and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. Then, 90 days later, I married my wife Janice. For over 50 years she has provided indispensable encouragement and guidance. Finally, after only four months of marriage, I was ordered to Vietnam.
For a year ‘in country' I did the very best I could to give young Marines the leadership they deserved. At the end of my tour I was awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Bronze Star. It was a difficult year. It was, however, a year that redefined what I expected of myself. I was no longer an aimless drifting kid. I became mission oriented throughout my tour in Vietnam and that mindset has remained with me ever since.
When I returned from Vietnam, I was appointed Chief Trial Counsel for the 5th Marine Division. Even though I was not a lawyer I was expected to prosecute Marine's for misdemeanor type offenses. I came away from that experience knowing what I wanted to do with my life after the Corps.
I enrolled at John Marshall Law School as soon as my enlistment ended. I graduated and passed the Illinois bar in 1974. In 2005, I was admitted to the bar in Indiana. In the course of my career I have dedicated myself to the mission of helping my clients and improving legal services provided by my profession. I have been privileged to serve in various capacities intended to improve the delivery of legal services to those in need of legal help. I served as a member of the Illinois Bar Association General Assembly. I was twice elected President of our local bar association. I was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation.
Throughout my career I have been ever mindful of my primary mission, that is, to provide help and guidance to clients who are confronted with legal challenges and to do what I can to right wrongs. The needs of my clients and the goals they seek become the objective I must achieve. That is my mission and I am driven to achieve it.