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Chapters

Life Isn’t a Straight Line

Judge Christine Arguello U.S. District Court Judge, District of Colorado

“Unfortunately, many people stay in situations in which they are unhappy and unfulfilled merely because they are afraid of change. I have never been afraid of change.”

Dr. Joseph Ramos Personal injury attorney and medical doctor

“I began to ask, is this really what I want to be doing? Is this really all there is?”

Find Your North Star

Maia Aron Associate in Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton’s complex litigation department

“But the practice of law, while challenging and intellectually stimulating, did not by itself fulfill me as a person.”

Denver Doxilly Contract Specialist for the Department of Housing and Urban Development

“During my time in law school, I felt so much pressure from my peers to follow a more traditional path.”

Are You Just Interested or Are You Committed?

Laura Reich Principal at Reich Rodriguez, commercial litigator formerly with White & Case

“What right did I have, with all that going for me, to want more? Didn’t I realize, didn’t I appreciate how many others would give their right arm for what I already had?”

Judge Roberto Ramirez District Court Judge for the 17th Judicial District of Colorado

“I didn’t know it at the time, but it was at that moment that I found my passion, in the same way some people refer to what they do as a calling.”

Are You Pre-Programmed?

Candice Duff Attorney, mediator, arbitrator, published novelist, and book writing coach

“One day I asked myself, ‘Is this what you want to do for the rest of your life?’”

Miko Brown Trial attorney at Davis Graham & Stubbs, defending high-profile companies in catastrophic personal injury lawsuits nationwide

“This path took a terrible toll on me and my family. Not only was I unhappy, but I was spending more and more time and energy focusing on my firm instead of the people and legal practice I loved.”

Define Your Own Success and Tell Fear to Take a Hike

Michelle Otero Valdés Board-certified maritime attorney handling all aspects of admiralty and maritime law

“There were other women in the firm that wanted to kick the ladder out from under me because they think they need to do so to get ahead.”

Karen Lapekas Former Senior Attorney for the IRS now has her own law firm as an IRS tax defense attorney

“And why do we want to be society’s version of successful? I think it’s because we think it would make us happier. What if you could be happy without all the trappings?”

The Power to Be Happy

Dr. Elyse Hurtado Professor at the University of Miami, Department of Psychology

“Optimism is linked to longevity, life satisfaction, achievement, happiness, healthier relationships, even the ability to recover from illness and disease, but you have to truly be optimistic.”

You Can Do It Your Way

Joshua Hertz Founder of his own personal injury law firm, Hertz Law

“The bottom line is if you don’t bring in business, you cannot be a lawyer working for yourself. It’s that simple.”

Judge Alex Bokor County Court Judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

“I also felt guilty and a little mad at myself. How could I be unfulfilled when I was doing everything I set out to do?”

Finding Your Niche: It Takes Courage, Vision, and Tenacity

Daniel Benavides Partner at Shutts & Bowen, where he is a member of the Real Estate Practice Group

“My experiences taught me that law is not a profession, law is a business. Law firms will only keep you around as long as you make them money.”

Michelle Estlund Criminal defense attorney and preeminent Interpol defense lawyer

“I eventually accepted that no one knows everything, even experts.”

Antonio Gallegos Senior Corporate Counsel, Leprino Foods, and formerly Of Counsel at Greenberg Traurig

“In this three-way battle for time, workload and family often won, leaving business development to the side.”

Job Security Is a Myth

Marc Cerniglia Founding partner of Spotlight Branding; helps lawyers navigate the truths and myths about internet marketing

“The issue is . . . the strategies that get sacrificed and neglected because this point of view creates tunnel vision for lawyers.”

Daniel Decker Founding partner of Spotlight Branding; helps lawyers stand out from the crowd

“The challenge for lawyers is: (1) how do I stand out in a sea of competition, and (2) how can I create trust with clients and win new business?”

Work-Life Balance?

Suzanne Ferguson General Counsel at Hotwire Communications Ltd.

“I don’t stop being a mother when I go to work and I don’t stop being a lawyer when I go home.”

Mark Yonkman Managing Partner, KMY Enterprises, LLC, and former Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of M&T Bank Corporation

“When I look back on my career and transitions that I made, it took me two jobs in Denver torealize that I needed to take the sabbatical and go cold turkey.”

What Does a Third Act Look Like? Retirement?

Terry Vento General Counsel at Perez Art Museum Miami and formerly a partner at Shutts & Bowen

“I did extensive pro bono legal work for the museum while maintaining a full-time law practice. I developed lasting bonds with the board members, and they trusted my judgment.”

Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo Estate Planning Attorney Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and former professor and dean at the
University of Colorado Law School

“Aristotle taught us a long time ago that what you do repeatedly is who you are. Well, I know who I am now after close to seven decades of pursuing the same passions.”

John Kozyak Chair of the Board of Directors at Parkinson Foundation and founding partner of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton

“In my late fifties my mother and father were both diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It was then when I recognized that I didn’t control everything in life.”

When Opportunity Knocks, Be Ready

Cathy Pareto Founder of a financial planning and investment management firm

“All of the transactions that you just described require one major element: capital. Capital gives you flexibility. Capital gives you time.”

Build Relationships That Matter

Clarissa Rodriguez Principal at Reich Rodriguez and board-certified international law attorney focusing on complex business dispute resolution, international arbitration, and art recovery and restitution law

“Mr. Burris’ speech “From Tragedy to Triumph: Altmann, Benningson, and the Pursuit of Looted Art” was a splash of cold water on me. His work was impressive, inherently noble, and utterly captivating”

Marlon Hill Partner at Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel focusing on corporate & international transactions; former co-chair to elect and re-elect Barack Obama

“Life events have an impact—health events, family, personal issues. You may have challenges at work. There’s always something different, and you have to be prepared with fearless faith.”