FROM EVERYONE AT HOLZFASTER, CECIL, McKNIGHT & MUES: Anne, throughout your legal practice you have always exemplified the highest standard of competence, professional and civility in in your dealings with clients, staff, Courts and other lawyers. We will ALL miss you as will the entire domestic relations bar! Please stay in touch as you transition into retirement!
To become organized and prepared to write this Ohio Family Blog Article, I spent some time reflecting upon my entire life and determined it would be more clear to the reader if I described the four (4) stages of my life. They are as follows:
Stage 1 – Growing Up and Being a Student: The first stage of my life encompassed the ages of birth through graduation from college in 1967. I was a student during most years of Stage 1. I was very fortunate to be raised by an intact family. My parents loved and adored one another and they loved and cherished the four (4) of us. As a practicing attorney who specializes in domestic relations law, I can appreciate the gift that I was given by being raised in a loving and intact family.
Stage 2 – Getting Married, Having Children, Raising a Family, Working Outside the Home as a Registered Nurse: The second stage of my life encompassed the ages of being twenty-one (21) through 1984. I married an Air Force officer and pilot and because I had a nursing degree, I was able to work in the states of Texas, Maryland, New Mexico, Arizona, Virginia, and Ohio. Wherever my Husband was stationed, I was able to find positions of employment and most of them were great experiences. We raised two (2) children and feel blessed that they turned out to be productive citizens with positions of employment and great parents of our four (4) grandchildren.
Stage 3 – Going to Law School, Becoming Divorced, and Practicing Family Law: The third stage of my life includes the years from 1984 until 2017. Many persons have asked me why I decided to go to law school after being a nurse for so many years. The answer is an easy one for me. I knew that my marriage was not healthy and that it was failing. I tried to teach nursing for one year before law school and decided that was not the answer. Nurses are too hard on themselves, they expect that you shall teach nursing, practice nursing, write scholarly articles for publication, and conduct research projects. One year was more than enough for me to decide that it was time to begin a new career. Law school was not easy for me. As a nursing student, I was taught via the “medical model” wherein if I see this or that symptom, I should take this or that action. And, there was usually just one correct action to take. Imagine my dilemma in law school with the Socratic Method of teaching and being taught to think of different or alternative solutions to any question or issue. I literally felt like I was a fish “out of water” and flopping about on the shore trying to get back into the water.
Graduation finally took place and I was so proud and happy to get that diploma from the University of Dayton School of Law. And, then to actually pass the Bar Examination in 1988! In the twenty-eight (28) years that I have practiced law, I have been so fortunate to have three (3) great positions of employment. My first position lasted for twelve (12) years as I had clerked for the firm during law school. Charles D. “Chuck” Lowe was my first mentor and teacher. His firm was willing to take a chance on a 40+ year-old attorney who did not know any more about the practice of law than the much younger graduates of my law school class. He taught me so many things, one of the most important of which is to value your colleagues and to treat them with kindness and respect as you will be dealing with them and working with them for years and years while you may never see your clients again. My second position of employment lasted for six (6) years and is one wherein I learned much about the value of organization and time management. My third and last position of employment has lasted for eleven (11+) years. I sincerely thank Robert L. Mues, aka “Chip”, for the opportunity to spend my last years of practice with him and his firm.
I have loved the practice of law and found that my listening and interpersonal skills developed as a mental health nurse have been extremely helpful to me as an attorney. I am a listener and an empathizer with my clients.
Stage 4 – Retirement from the Practice of Law: The fourth stage of my life shall include the rest of 2017 until the end of my life. I do not intend to remain idle. I shall be a volunteer with the Volunteer Lawyers Project (“VLP”) and the Community Action Partnership (“CAP”). I intend to read the many books that I have managed to collect (and not read) over the years and I intend to go see more movies in the theater. My fourth stage of life is set to begin on March 1, 2017 and I am excited about this next stage of “being”!
I am thankful and blessed for having had such a great life!
Anne, Congratulations on your retirement! Well done and well deserved!
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Anne Shale is of counsel to Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. She is a former registered nurse and concentrates her practice in Family Law and Divorce cases.