I grew up in a very small town in a very rural area in a state. We had 73 people in our graduating class, although nowadays those ranks have dwindled down to about 35. People move away, things change, but life goes on.
When I was a little kid, there was only one real attorney in town. His name was Joe. He handled everything from divorces to car wrecks to land deals and everything in between. He had already been a lawyer for a long time when I knew him, probably 25 years or more. His kids were my age, and they lived in one of the nicest houses in town. I seriously wondered what it would be like to be him. A small town lawyer. As a girl, I really didn’t even know if it was possible.
I was the first person in my family to obtain a college degree. My dad took a few college courses, but other than that, no one on my mom’s side did. I didn’t really know what it took to be an attorney, but I loved everything about it – the briefcase, the office, going to see people in jail, going to court, meeting the judge, and everything else. I got to do some of those things with my dad, as he was a wildlife officer. I even got to go to the jail to visit a few times, and I remember sitting in the front of the courtroom galley, when he had to go for a hearing or two. Fascinated I was. Truly.
Fast forward 26-odd years later, and here I am. An attorney. Passed the bar on the first try, practicing in a small town in central Arkansas. I love it. But there is a tiny thing missing. I want to work some in my hometown. I want to go back to that courthouse and file a case. I want to try a case there, in a way to give back, but in a way to show the naysayers that I did it. Little hometown girl did well for herself. Little hometown girl is now Johnita Grisham, in a way.
Tomorrow is that day. I’m filing my very first case in that little courhouse, where I used to go with my Dad. That spot on the map where I took my driver’s test (also passed it the first time, barely!), where I first saw what a courthouse looked like. Where I wondered if I would ever be.
After all the struggles, all the trials, all the tears, all the heartache, all the hard work and perserverance, I’m doing this thing. I’m fighting the good fight for my clients. I’m winning, I’m negotiating, and I’m counseling. It is truly amazing.
As I walk into that courthouse with my briefcase (it’s pink as it should be), I’ll hold my head high and be proud of my accomplishments, but at the same time pay tribute to a little girl who always wanted to be an attorney and finally, finally made it.
If you have a dream – do it. Do it today. In the immortal words of Michael Landon, there are only so many tomorrows.