I remember being in law school, dreaming then about hanging my own shingle, opening my own law practice after graduating from Temple Law. During my third year of law school, I created a business plan for my own practice. I still have that business plan, and in fact, it served as the basis and outline for a more comprehensive version in 2014.
After graduating from Temple Law, though, I realized that I needed to earn money and, just as importantly if not more so, I needed to gain experience. I practiced for two years in the corporate sector, earning much-needed income to begin repaying student loans, while also freelancing in family law on the side.
In 2009, I was fortunate enough to gain a position as a full-time family law attorney at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, where for the next five years, I gained tremendous experience in the courtrooms of Philadelphia Family Court. All the while, the seed of "independence" and "departure" was there and continued to develop at an internal or subconscious level.
It was finally during a trip to India with my wife in January 2014 that the seed suddenly, almost as though by epiphany, ripened. Not only the thought or vision, but the impulse and demand, to establish my own law practice came clearly to the surface. On one piece of paper, which I still have today, I scribbled the well of ideas that came to me in a barrage. If the framework that I'd written in law school was the trunk and branches of a plan, this cavalcade of ideas represented the leaves of the tree. I was nearly ready.
For the next several months, I planned and prepared -- mentally, logistically, financially, and spiritually. It was time. The Law Office of F. Tighe Burns, Esquire was born out of the spirit of Mr. Whitman's quote above. It was a dream come true.
As a final post-script, though -- and not with any intent to diminish from the very American ideals of individualism, freedom, and self-sufficiency embodied in Mr. Whitman's quote -- I must acknowledge that I'm still quite dependent: upon my clients, upon the other lawyers and professionals that refer clients to me, and upon those that I seek when I myself need help or direction. I would dare to say that there's beauty in that too, that we all need each other in one way or another.