Submitted by Susan Smith Blakely
I cannot let April 2013 pass without remembering the person who had the most influence on me in choosing a career in the law. That person was my father, now deceased, who was the best role model I ever could have had of an ethical, dedicated, empathetic and effective lawyer. My books are dedicated to him, and he is part of everything that I do in Best Friends at the Bar. So, he not only affects me, but he affects you, my readers, and, for that, I consider you to be fortunate.
My Dad, Rex M. Smith, would have been 100 years old this month. Born in April 1913, he lived for almost 90 years, and he left big shoes to fill for those who came behind him. When he retired, after 50 years of practice, his professional colleagues, lawyers and judges, came from long distances to attend the bar association tribute to him. Although he had started as a sole practitioner during the Great Depression, when employment options were limited, over time he became a major influence in banking and financial services in his state of Wisconsin and the Midwest. However, no matter how successful he became, he never forgot who he was and how he got his start. He could be developing a sophisticated argument for a case in federal bankruptcy court at the same time that he was administering pro bono legal services to those in need. Truly, he was a remarkable man, who kept it all in perspective.