Title: trial lawyer for Deaton & Daniel Firm
Now resides in: Jackson, Miss.
Degree: 1999, B.A., political science and sociology
Further education: 2002, J.D., Mississippi College School of Law
How I got to Tech: My dad had a friend who was a big fan of Tech. I was planning on majoring in engineering; he convinced my dad that Tech was the best school for me. We came for a visit and the family was sold.
After graduating: I took a trip to Scotland and spent a few weeks there. My future in-laws lived in Aberdeen. The trip was a great break for me before starting the fast-paced curriculum of law school.
What I do now: I am a trial lawyer; I recently made partner at Deaton & Daniel Law Firm in Flowood, Miss. I defend and I sue, and I enjoy that flexibility. I am also ESGR (Employer's Support for the Guard and Reserve) Ombudsman for the state of Mississippi. I'm embarking on my fourteenth year as a Navy Reservist, and I serve on the military affairs committee for the Mississippi Bar Association.
How I juggle my law practice with military service: It's tough. The government has a lot of expectations for reservists. Keeping a balance requires a lot of communication with my employer and clients. I enjoy doing it. Some of the finest Americans I've ever met are in the military.
Why I helped write legislation for the state of Mississippi to protect the custodial rights of parents serving the military: One day, a lady walked into my office. She was enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard. She had a five-year-old daughter, and was not married to the child's father. He was not involved in the child's life, but was seeking custody before she deployed. My firm entered an appearance on her behalf. We defended it and protected her custodial rights. After it was over, we had a discussion among the military affairs committee and decided that service men and women should not have to face custody disputes before they go to war.
Tips on choosing a major: Students need to find something they're interested in, but balance it with something that will give them many options for employment. Many times, a bachelor's degree is not going to be enough. Bachelor's degrees are now a dime a dozen. You want a good foundation to make you flexible for graduate or professional education.
Advice to someone who wants to enter my field: English is a great major for future lawyers. You have to have strong communications skills. Economics is also a good major for lawyers because it helps you understand concepts related to money; a lot of law is about money.
Memories of Tech: Football season. When I was at Tech, we had a fantastic offense and the games were a lot of fun. I will definitely be back for the Mississippi State game.
Truimphs in my life: Becoming a dad. I have a 13-month-old son, Joseph. I never knew I'd enjoy this so much.
I knew I was grown up when: I was mobilized for the War on Terrorism and had my team of interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. I had to choose who to send to Iraq and who to keep in Cuba; I realized I was sending other people's brothers and fathers and sisters and mothers into harm's way. I knew then that I had grown up.
If I've learned one thing in life, it is: Try not to sweat the small stuff, and do the best you can.
Do you know of a Tech Triumph? Let us know.