Midnight opening of the drawbridges at St. Petersburg, Russia (June 2013)
I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. I attended John Overton High School, where I served as student council president my senior year. I was a member of the Overton debate team my junior and senior years and won the state debate championship, going 8-0 in the tournament during my senior year of high school in 1973.
I aspired to be a lawyer since I was in the tenth grade and so I am living my dream.
Although I grew up in Nashville, I attended the University of Southern California on a full debate scholarship. I was on one of only 78 teams that qualified for the National Debate Tournament my sophomore year in 1975. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from USC with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1977.
I attended Syracuse College of Law from 1977 to 1980. I graduated with my Juris Doctorate degree in 1980 and was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award in Administrative Law.
I was a Deputy Sheriff with the Metropolitan Sheriff's Department all four summers that I attended college. I was the radio dispatcher, served subpoenas, and guarded prisoners awaiting trial in the top floor lock-up at the courthouse in downtown Nashville.
I served as an intern at the Governor's Office after my first year of law school during the summer of 1978. My office was at the state capitol building in Nashville, where I worked directly for the governor's lobbyist, J. Nelson Biddle III.
After my second year of law school, I interned at the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office under District Attorney Edward G. Rendell, where I was permitted to try misdemeanor cases and conduct preliminary hearings in felony cases. During my internship in the summer of 1979, I tried 10 cases to verdict, winning them all.
Upon graduating law school, I passed both the July, 1980 Pennsylvania bar and the February, 1987 California bar on my first attempts. I have been a member in good standing of both bars since I was admitted to practice in those jurisdictions.