The MLO Minute: Our Firm’s 40th Anniversary Continues With an “Attitude of Gratitude” —
As many of my friends, colleagues, and clients are aware, our law firm began quite modestly 40 years ago when I began my private practice of law as a part-time sole practitioner while also working as a prosecutor in the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office and teaching part-time at Villanova University and Immaculata University. With each advancing year, I was blessed with an expanding clientele, four delightful children (Caitlin, Allyson, Jacqueline, and Brianna) with my wonderful wife Liz, and additional important work as a Special Education Hearing Officer. Eventually it became obvious that I needed to commit myself to the full-time private practice of law. With the exception of a 1 ½ year interlude as a special prosecutor in the John DuPont murder trial under my remarkable friend and colleague, Joe McGettigan, who was then First Assistant District Attorney and today is our firm’s outstanding lead Title IX attorney, I have been able to fully commit myself to the work of our law firm in special education, estate planning, and school-based injuries. It has been a great privilege to work in these fields with so many wonderful clients and the talented professionals in our firm.
At a very recent church service, the sermon focused upon the many benefits of an “Attitude of Gratitude”. Significantly, research establishes that such positive attitude is highly beneficial for our well-being and mental health. For example, even as Lou Gehrig was very sick with the disease that bears his name, when his uniform was retired at Yankee Stadium, he announced to the crowd that “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth”. Such an attitude could only buoy one’s spirits.
This time of year is a spiritual season for many religions, and Lent just began for Christians. It’s a time for reflection, and the recent sermon about gratitude particularly struck home with me. Those of you who know our firm recognize the talent, compassion, diligence, indecency of everyone in our practice. I have been blessed with remarkable colleagues, many of whom have been my friends and colleagues for many years. Our amazing Office Manager, Jan Hardy, has been with me since the day that I began full-time private practice in 1995 and is an irreplaceable professional whose insights, hard work and kindness never ceases to amaze me. Our Controller, Elaine Gilmore, has also been with our firm since those early days as well, and the precision, wisdom, and congenial attitude she brings to her work is something to behold. Our CEO, Katie Ryan, has brought to our firm her unmatched professionalism and has taken on innumerable administrative tasks with great skill and competence by tapping into her years of experience managing successful law firms and practicing in the federal courts. Our two Supervising Partners – Michael Connolly in Special Education and Lesley Mehalick in Estates and Trusts – are nationally recognized for their remarkable skills, professionalism, and willingness to share their wisdom with others.
And everyone who realizes that two of my daughters work in our firm immediately says how fortunate I am to have Caitlin McAndrews as an exceptional and delightful professional who, like me, is one of the few attorneys anywhere to work in the very distinct legal activities of litigation and estate planning, and Allyson McAndrews Washo, who produces these excellent MLO Minutes and maintains a robust outreach program with consistent skill, competence and wonderful good humor. Every one of my interactions with each of these extraordinary individuals is a positive experience and one from which I learn and am grateful.
I owe all of these talented and decent individuals a real debt of gratitude, as they have all been with me (and each other and their colleagues) through even the most challenging of times, such as a worldwide pandemic which required us to pivot immediately to a virtual platform to continue to serve our clients who needed us so much, and often more than ever during the pandemic.
But beyond these persons who have been with us so faithfully, are our other wonderful attorneys and support staff who serve so many clients effectively every day (and nights!). In the weeks ahead, I look forward to recognizing more of these individuals and to say to them how much I appreciate every single thing that they do, every day. And thank you to all of our clients and fellow practitioners whose confidence in us has been a magnificent gift and a source of great gratitude!