Chad with his family Kara, Addison and Jackson
On November 7, 2002 I officially received my license to practice law in Illinois.
That day was the culmination of studying four years at Illinois Wesleyan University for my Bachelor of Arts (with a History and Political Science Double Major), two years of studying and working as a legal assistant at the Maricopa County’s office in Arizona, and three years at Southern Illinois School of Law earning my law degree.
After graduating from Law School in May, 2002, I crammed for two months studying for their Illinois State Bar Exam.
I remember taking the two-day Bar Exam that July in downtown Chicago - my testing location didn't have any air conditioning!
The Bar Exam results didn’t get published until a couple months later, so you are living on pins and needles during that whole time.
I remember looking for my exam number online to see if I passed. I think it was the first year they posted the results online . . . and to my great relief, I had passed!!
A lot has happened from a technological standpoint over the last 20 years I've been practicing law. When I started practicing law, fax machines were still regularly used and not all small law firms had computer networks yet. Now, everything we do as attorneys is online. All of our research, programs; hearings; meetings – Online.
Practicing law has its demands and rewards. Lawyers can practice law by working for a corporation; working for a governmental entity or in a private practice. The private practice of law is a tough profession with little formal guidance once you become a licensed attorney. Its sink or swim for the most part.
New attorneys are literally learning how to be a lawyer on the job – they are literally “practicing” how to be lawyers when first starting out – and that “practicing” never stops. New Attorneys are lucky if they can find a good mentor when first starting out. All attorneys rely on the collegiality of our fellow attorneys for help from time to time. With the baby boomer generation of attorneys retiring there is a lot of stress on the legal profession as we lose a generation of attorneys that have had 30-50 years of legal and practical experience.
I enjoy my estate planning practice. I enjoy working with my clients. I enjoy having my own practice (even with all the stress that comes with it).
I am grateful for all of the legal assistants, paralegals, associate attorneys and staff members that have been part of the “Ritchie Law Office, Ltd.” Team over the years. I can remember each person that has worked with me and the list of names is over 20!!
I want to say a special thank you to my current RLO Team that works very hard and helps me and the Ritchie Law Office, Ltd. clients so much.
Finally - I want to say thank you to my wife Kara. She has supported me through all of the ups and downs of a private law practice.
She has been the CEO of the Ritchie Family for 25 years and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Even though she is not an attorney – she has been by my side practicing law (by supporting me) for the last 20 years too!
After 20 years I have learned a lot and experienced a lot and I am grateful. I am eager to see – God Willing – what the next 20 years of practicing law brings.