How to avoid becoming a lawyer

University of Texas School of Law

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As you may know, it did not work out that way. But it was not due to a lack of trying on my part. I think subconsciously that since my dad was a lawyer, I wanted to “do my own thing.”  I had taken a passing interest in electronics and my maternal grandfather, Ernest A. Moritz, was a rather famous engineer so, therefore, I set off to the University of Texas in 1962 to become an electrical engineer. Made sense, right?

Then one day sitting in engineering mechanics class, I suddenly realized that this was not what I wanted to do. It truly was one of those “eureka” moments. Since my major was about to change, the opportunity presented itself to switch to a major appropriate for pre-law. But instead, after talking to some fraternity brothers and counselors, and having taken into account the fact that I was pretty handy with numbers, I suddenly was majoring in accounting.

I made good grades and was fortunate to be able to interview with any of the “Big 8” accounting firms and went to work in 1966 for Arthur Andersen & Co. in Houston. Within months I was in the Navy, then came back to AA&Co, and earned my CPA certificate.

So far, so good, in avoiding becoming a lawyer. Then it started.

One Sunday I was reading the Houston Chronicle newspaper, cover to cover, as was my habit then. Buried in a page deep inside that huge Sunday edition, and jam against the fold, there it was:  a notice that the LSAT, the Law School Admissions Test, was soon to be given in Houston. I bought a review book (and distinctly recall that it cost $5.95), went through it, took the test, made a good score on it, and before long had acceptances coming in from a number of fine law schools.

Thus it became clear that someone was trying to tell me something. I left Aa&Co. in May 1971 to attend the University of Texas School of law.

Thus my quest to avoid being a lawyer had failed.

Have I mentioned that I never had a burning desire to be a judge, either? Many lawyers aspire to the bench from early in their career, but that was not me. I was rocking along, “fat, dumb and happy” as they say, when I was recruited to run for the office of 33rd District Court Judge. At the time of this writing I’ve been on the bench for 14 years (having been elected in Nov 1996) and feel that it was something I was meant to do.

Serendipity is a good thing!

About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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2 Responses to How to avoid becoming a lawyer

  1. Butch Kemper says:

    This article is very interesting reading about becoming a lawyer:


  2. Ann Ragsdale says:

    Agreed. Meant to be kinda thing. I recall those times after we arrived in Burnet County, (about the time you had your arm twisted to run.) We like the way things worked out for you and for Burnet County.

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