Slinde Nelson

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Slinde Nelson

Following in My Father’s Footsteps

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2011 | Uncategorized

Many people who know me well may believe that I was born with the scales of justice in one hand and the rules of civil procedure in the other. My sister is a litigator in Boston, an uncle the founding partner of well-known firm in Portland, Maine, and another uncle the managing partner of one of the largest firms in Boston. One cousin is a criminal defense lawyer in Portland, and another an assistant district attorney in Los Angeles. And then, of course, there is my father.

My dad was a trial attorney for more than thirty years in Maine. His resume is lengthy and it includes former President of the American Bar Association, CEO of Tonkon Torp, and COO of Stoel Rives. He’s currently living his golden years (sorry dad) as a professor of law at the University of Michigan. Despite photographic evidence, it’s enough to make me believe I might have been born in a three-piece suit.

Growing up, however, I actually never gave much thought to being an attorney. I enjoyed spending time at my father’s office on the weekend, but I think that was mostly due to playing with the knick-knacks on my dad’s desk, eating candy out of the vending machine, and watching cable television. As I became a teenager, I proudly responded to those asking whether I was to follow in his footsteps, with a resounding, “Absolutely not!” I was an idealist (and more than a little rebellious) and becoming a lawyer meant wearing suits to the office and sitting behind a desk.

When I entered college, I knew I ultimately wanted a career that would help people. I began studying psychology, believing I would find my calling as a psychologist. During my junior year, however, I took an introductory legal class and instantly knew that my life was about to take a turn in another direction. Surprisingly, I enjoyed learning about legal concepts and arguments. I realized that the law was indeed meant to help people, and lawyers were the ones who made this happen.

I should have known, I suppose, that so many friends and family were right. My desire to help people had really come from my father all along. In using what he had taught me, the more I thought about it the more I realized that a career in law was the right path for me.

Like my dad, I am now a civil litigator, and not a day goes by that I fail to think about his influence in my life. Like him, I’ve become active in the legal community, particularly in the state and national bar associations. However (but also like him), the greatest and most rewarding part of my job is helping my clients. I enjoy listening to their stories, providing advice, and working together to find beneficial solutions for all.

I am truly satisfied with my career as a lawyer and I am particularly thankful to the person who inspired me to get here: my father.

Happy Father’s Day.