I’m an elder attorney. I help people age with dignity, grace and control. And at 67, I’ve just started a practice. What? When my curtain should be coming down, it’s just going up! I love my Act II, but what about Act I?
I did my Act I as a musician. My band, The Shoppe, charted 9 records in Billboard Magazine and toured with the biggest names in country music. How’d that happen? It started when my brother and I, along with a friend, started a folk trio — just clowning around!
Then, we entered a talent contest — and won! First prize was a club gig in Dallas. But, wait! We only knew three songs. Clowning around? Ha! Now, we had to work at it!
We’ve all heard it. “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Wrong! As much as we loved performing, it was really hard work. While we never got much airplay locally, we had several big hits in Seattle. You gotta go where the money is! So, in a tour bus and truck, we drove from DFW to the Pacific Northwest 86 times over 22 years. In fact, we just celebrated our 50th Anniversary by performing 4 days at the Washington State Fair!
I truly loved making music and performing. I was mentored by one of the greatest banjo players ever, Smokey Montgomery; The band appeared on Hee Haw and the Grand Ole Opry (yes, there are YouTube videos); I won a SESAC award as a songwriter; We even got signed by a major label!
So, when I went back to law school, I thought I was going right back in to the music business. But, I had it backwards. My music career had prepped me for a very different legal career. You can’t tour like we did without learning to solve problems, and solving elder issues is the most creative thing I’ve found since music. When I get stuck on an issue, I usually pick up my banjo for a minute. The solution usually comes pretty quickly then.