What’s your background before becoming a lawyer?
Dallas, TX trial attorney Daniel Charest talks about his background and the hard work he put in in his farm days.
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I grew up, my background, I grew up in a small town on a farm and so, we were no strangers to hard work. My dad was as ship captain and so I went to sea just like he did and saw the world on oil tankers. And while that doesn’t, at all, really, relate to the practice of the law I would tell you what it does do. It showed me that there is no level of work that’s too much. You’re going to get it done. These are really demanding jobs, a lot of hours, a lot of work and so, it gave me the confidence to know that whatever amount of work I might face going forward I’d be able to handle it, that’s number one.
But number two, it also gave me a real, interestingly, it gave me a real insight into the industrial work space. And I don’t think that lawyers or people that go to some nice schools and go to nice colleges and go to nice law schools and then come out and be lawyers, I think they have a lot of catching up to do with people who work in industry and people who know what it’s like to put in an eight-hour shift and then hope to get overtime in order to feed your family. And that’s one thing but even aside from sort of the economic disparity the notion of working around heavy machinery, the risks that are attended to that. The possible loss of life and injury that exists that real, regular people deal with on a day to day basis I think that’s a real humbling and important sort of trait to carry with you.
And then, lastly, just as happenstance the technical work that I did on the ships gave me, I think, a real good insight into mechanics and fluid dynamics and things that, frankly, translated really well into the oil and gas industry. Not just because it was an oil tanker but the way fluid moves through different pipes and through solids and the way machines come together, I think gives me a real leg up when I’m talking to a client who has a very industrial practice or does oil and gas work. And so, I can sit there and listen and understand what the mechanics behind their process are and I find that that, for me, talking to clients that have commercial litigation disputes, which is really my primary focus, commercial litigation, which in Texas is oil and gas, really, or largely.
That advantage, that life experience it just I can’t tell you how many times it’s come up where I learned something or knew about something because of my prior life before being a lawyer. So I think it gives me a rich context, right, whether it’s life lessons or technical experience to draw on that I’m really proud of.