Family history: Being a lawyer is “in my blood”, as the saying goes.
My great grandfather Adam Thompson graduated from University of Southern California law school in 1905 and soon after that began practicing law in San Diego, California. He was President of the San Diego Bar Association for two successive terms, 1915-1917. Here he is (center) in a photograph taken at the 1924 Bar Picnic, where he is flanked on either side by his two sons who also went to the University of Southern California (USC), and also became lawyers (Gordon, on his right, who was my grandfather, and Renwick, on his left).
Gordon was elected as a state court judge in the early 1930’s and served as such until his too-early death in 1948. Here is a photograph of one of his posters – Go Grandpa! I wish I had known him.
Gordon had two sons: my father, David, and my uncle, Gordon. Both of them also attended USC and BOTH of them eventually became judges, too. My uncle, served as a judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California and my father, was appointed as a Justice to the United States Court of the Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1985 where he served until his death in 2011. Here is a favorite photograph of mine of the two of them taken on the day of my Dad’s swearing-in ceremony (my father is the taller one). And, here is another photo of him at his desk in his chambers in San Diego. He loved being a “regular” (very good/civil trial) lawyer for 30 years, but he Really loved his job as a judge – it suited him well, and he was known for years in the Ninth Circuit as an exceptionally intelligent, fair, and “uncommonly kind” Justice. I was also lucky enough to have worked with him in his San Diego law offices, as a clerk and later for a short while as an associate. Lessons I learned from him there, and the rest of my life with him, are with me every day. I feel so grateful for my Thompson legacy.
I attended undergraduate school at the University of Southern California (of course…see above). I received my J.D. from California Western School of Law in 1982, was admitted to both the New York and California Bars in 1984, and have been practicing law – usually in small to mid-size firms (both part time and full time) ever since. I was admitted to the Vermont Bar in 1993 soon after moving to Vermont in 1992 and continued to practice in small to mid-size firms both in Vermont and California since that time. I also have four years of experience in a larger firm doing trust and estate litigation, from 2003-2007.
On August 1, 2015, I finally realized my “dream” of having a solo practice in a cozy but elegant old house on a main street in a town (or as it turned out, a small city) in Addison County. After years of working mostly in the areas of estate planning, wills, trusts and probate, I knew exactly how to set up the house/office environment so that clients feel as comfortable as possible talking about things that while intensely business-focused, are intensely personal, too. I have one (thirty year old) son, one (ten year old) dog and one view of how to practice law, derived from years of watching other family members do it: work hard, be thorough and respond as promptly as possible to each and every situation.