I’m Coming Home

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The JD/MBA/Author/WorldExplorer explains why he is returning to Flint.

Before anyone ever cared where I practiced law, I was a kid from Southeast Michigan. It’s where studied. It’s where I crammed. It’s where I napped. It’s where I snoozed. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Southeast Michigan is bigger than law. I didn’t realize that nine years ago. I do now.

Remember when I was sitting up there at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in 2005? I was thinking, It is really cold. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating.  If i had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Scottsdale, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past nine years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better lawyer and a better man. I learned from a law firm that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Scottsdale as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

I went to Arizona because of Sparky and Sandra Day. We made sacrifices to earn our JDs. I loved becoming a big bro to Roly Poly. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life. I also want to thank Dean White and Professor Rose for giving me an amazing three years.

I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to showcase myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking. He and Toolborga didn’t get along. . .. He and Cordova didn’t get along. … They couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Flint, I was on a mission. I was seeking money, and I made some. But Scottsdale knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to make as much money as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing some back to Southeast Michigan.

I always believed that I’d return to Flint and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the termination, free agency wasn’t even a thought. I looked at other cities, but I wasn’t going to leave Scottsdale for anywhere except Flint. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

To make the move I needed the support of my mom and my dad, who can be very tough. The letter from General Motors, the booing of the Flint fans, the city being burned — seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to a lawyer, and that lawyer made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Ghassan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?

I’m not promising a windfall. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to strike it rich next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process much longer than it was in 2005. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with young lawyers and a new boss. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys.

But this is not about the the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above law. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Scottsdale, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Southeast Michigan, like the hundreds of Flint third-graders I don’t sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Southeast Michigan, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.

PSYCH! I’m moving to Mongolia.

 

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