My Second Career in Law
Hi. I’m Charles A. Thurston, Esquire, but most people just know me as “Lawyer Charlie.” I forget who first began to call me “Lawyer Charlie”, but whoever it was, the name stuck and I kind of like it.
Obviously, I’m an attorney, but it was not always thus. In law school, I was what was known as a retread – a person who was older than most of the other students and was training for a second career in the law.
It turns out that for most of my adult life, I was actually a geek. More officially, I was a computer specialist for the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in Washington, D.C.
For over 20 years, I spent my days writing computer code designed to count how many people and how much money my agency required to be able to tell the American people just how bad the economy was and how long it was going to take to fix it. Sometimes, I even got to write code that helped figure out the country’s inflation rates and what America’s unemployment picture looked like. Heck, my first job with the Bureau (that’s insider talk for the Bureau of Labor Statistics) was responding to an accusation from the Ronald Reagan/George H. W. Bush election campaign that then President Jimmy Carter had ordered the Bureau to “Jimmy” the books so that the inflation rate would look better than it actually was.
I got to tell you, for a young twenty-something year old, I was star struck. I was actually working with an assistant commissioner researching facts to prove that my government and our president had not and would not ever allow anyone to tamper with the process of producing the best Consumer Price Index humanly possible. Can you imagine, at 24, I was producing data that proved the integrity of my agency was beyond reproach? Gosh, isn’t it amazing how so little really changes. Just last week there was a big story on the news where Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, accused the Bureau, my agency, of understating the unemployment statistics for political purposes. No offense Mr. Welch, but clearly you really don’t know Jack …
Anyway, after bumming around as a computer geek for twenty years or so, I realized that something was missing in my life. Well, I took a little inventory and I discovered the following; I was well paid, I had a relatively prestigious job (not everybody could program computers in the 80’s and 90’s), I had a great wife, a nice house in the suburbs of D.C., yet something was not quite right because I wasn’t all that happy. Hmm, I wondered was wrong.
Well, maybe there is a divine plan or something because about that time, my wife’s asthma got really bad and to make a long story short, her doctors said to me, “boy you need to get your wife out of all this pollution and stress and get her on down to Florida where the air is clean, the nights are warm, and the pace of life is considerably more sane than in Washington, D.C.” So, taking their advice, I loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly – I mean Melbourne. Florida that is: good schools, nice people and rockets that could take you to the moon.