Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Silver Anniversary

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So here's the reason we're in Kansas City.


In 1984 and 1985, I was in a small law firm. It had five principals (I was the most junior) and a miserable, underpaid utility associate. My social security disability practice had become too big for me alone and I was starting to give my overflow to the others. I had also signed a contract to start a business for mediation of civil litigation cases (which has done pretty well). A couple of the other lawyers thought that I had outgrown our facilities and I should split off.

I'd never been completely on my own in law practice. Panic! I had too much of a caseload for me alone and I was about to start a new business. What am I gonna do? I went out running in a cold rain in March 1985, trying to clear my head. By chance, the miserable associate drove by, saw me and pulled up to the curb.

"Hey, idiot" she called out the window. "What are you doing out here getting soaked?"

"I just left the firm, Julie," I gasped. Her eyes went wide with surprise. And then, without any conscious thought, I said "and I'd like you to come with me."

She told me to go home, dry off and call her. Six weeks later, on May 1, 1985, our little firm opened its doors. I was 35. Julie Shanahan was 27. I wanted people to respect her so it was Crowe & Shanahan from day one.

Twenty five years later there are four lawyers, about 18 support staff and an outstanding reputation in our specialty. Julie and I are like brother and sister. Several of the staff have been with us twenty years or more. We're a family.

Julie had the idea to do something for all of them in the form of a road trip and dinner. They voted for Kansas City and we had a terrific party last night. Some of the guests below are Stessie Bill, our law clerk, Cindy Derse, who has been my paralegal for twenty seven years, and paralegal Kaari Smith. What a great bunch of people. Here's to many more years.

8 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Congratulations Bob! Sounds great. Wishing you many more anniversaries!

cieldequimper said...

Happy anniversary!

Olivier said...

Joyeux anniversaires, j'aime beaucoup le ton de tes photos

Ed Pitts said...

Impressive history, Bob. Here's to the next 25. Congrats also to Julie for helping to make the firm strong and a success for so long.

brattcat said...

I'm so glad you shared the story with us. Congratulations to all!

Stessie said...

I made the blog! I was pretty jealous when my sister did before me.

Nathalie said...

Lovely tribute to some lovely people Bob! It must have been a stressful time, deciding to fly out of the nest. Glad you had Julie. Cheers to all!

Jilly said...

I had a crazy week, Bob, but saw a brief glimpse of this and now, with time, I'm back to read it properly. Love love the story and what a good reason for a celebration. many congratulations. it's always good to take a new road, however scary and you did! And good for you. I always thought it took more courage to say no (what would we have missed?) than to say yes. You must have felt the same. Love the shot of you and those you took of your guests. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this lovely story and anniversary.