I am proud, and very excited, to introduce Matthew Smith, a guest blogger to this site and aspiring attorney. Mr. Smith is a 3L (third year) student attending law school in Kentucky. While I will leave it to his short bio below the details of his odyssey in life and in the law, I would like to herald his presence on The Solo Lawyer as my guest blogger. He will be writing on a host of topics ranging from challenges facing junior-starting attorneys and starting a new law practice out of law school to estate planning and veterans issues, helping veterans being one of his passions. So, I am overjoyed by having him submit what will be interesting and useful information. Today, please read his short bio, and we look forward to you returning to benefit from his posts yet to come.
P.S. For those who are also in law school and thinking about going solo, Mr. Smith's posts are a must read.
Matthew Smith Short Bio:
"A Little About Myself"
My name is Matthew Smith and I am currently a 3L part time law student at Salmon P Chase College of Law in Northern Kentucky. In two years I plan on taking, and passing, the Ohio, and then Kentucky bar exams. Immediately after passing the bar I will be starting my own law firm with my good friend, study partner, and law school savior.
I was born in Massachusetts and still have an extremely large family that lives in New England, which means by blood I am a Boston Red Sox fan. However I have lived almost my entire life in Central Kentucky, mainly Lexington. I graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky in 2000 with a BA in Political Science and History. Since birth I had not wanted to become anything but an attorney. I fell in love with the idea at a young age and never really shook the bug. Luckily for me, God had different plans for me, as several events happened in my life following undergrad that forced me to reexamine my reasons for going to law school. Upon evaluation of my situation I decided to change my career path and decided to pursue a career in financial planning which led me to Minneapolis, where I eventually earned my Series 7 and 66 licenses and began working as a financial advisor. While working as a financial advisor I decided to enhance my understanding and expertise in finances and business by earning my MBA through Walden University.
However, my longing for friends and family, the birth of my son David Henry, and the greatest financial collapse since the great depression again forced me to reexamine my career plans. I did some very serious soul searching and came to realize that there had always been an area of my life that I had enjoined and been involved in; helping people with special needs. I had been a big brother to two disabled children for 10 years, I was the member of several organizations that advocated for people with special needs, and I had focused my financial advising business on attempting to work with attorneys setting up special needs trusts. Taking into account my passion for helping people with special needs, I soon took a position working as a job development and career coach for people with disabilities in Lexington. During this time the legal bug slowly began to creep it’s way back into my life. My father who had been trying to get his disability from the Veteran’s administration for nearly 30 years had finally received his deserved support, and I noticed on a day to day basis the employment discrimination, the lack of social security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits analysis and education that my special needs clients were receiving. With the support of my wonderful family and girlfriend I decided to once again take the LSAT and apply to law school.
With a family to support, the only real option was to go to school part time in Northern Kentucky, while I continued to work at least 40 hours a week. So that is what did. I worked from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and then would drive an hour north to attend class from 6:00 until 9:00 three days a week. I would study on the weekends and whenever I would have any free time. I would be lying if I said that my love of the law made this easy and that everything worked out perfectly, but what it did show me is what I was capable of accomplishing. I made the Dean’s lists both semesters of my first year, was in the top 20 percent of my class, and received one of the top two grades for my oral argument based on my legal brief. The brief was arguing for the award of emotional pain and anguish damages for the negligent death of a dog!
After my first year the discussion of what to do after law school started to take place more and more frequently between myself and my study partner. We slowly came to the realization that the only way to get the best out of our selves was to actually be working for ourselves. So we made the decision to start our own law firm upon graduating from law school. I quickly realized that if I were to be ready for this transition I would need some practical experience so I applied for a legal assistant position with a personal injury firm in Cincinnati. I was offered the job and was again forced to make an important decision on how to make this work. Luckily my partner allowed me to live in his basement while I worked for the law firm for six months and continued to go to school in the evening. In January of this year I was pleased to learn that I had been offered an internship with the Ohio Attorney General’s office working in their labor relations section. Again I was lucky to have an undergraduate friend who works as an attorney and lives in Columbus who would allow me to stay with him while I worked. During this time of working in Cincinnati and then Columbus I would drive back to Lexington during the weekends and try to squeeze in time to study late at night on the weekends.
My reason for starting my website, www.babyboomerslaw.com, was twofold, the first and most important reason was to provide a central hub for open discourse on topics affecting the baby boomer generation and two is that I want to provide assistance and therefore hopefully insight to other law students or current attorneys who are thinking about starting their own law firm. The website is the result of almost two years of planning and research on what I would need to get my law firm started, coming to terms with what areas of law I truly had a passion for, and ultimately what demographic I believed that my partner and I could provide the best benefit to you.
I hope that I will be able to help those who need information, looking to discuss current issues affecting the baby boomer or special needs demographic and gaining critical information for myself as I develop a plan for the success of my own law firm.
Please feel free to post or send me questions about any topic by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew T. Smith