Oklahoma Bar Journal
By Jennifer E. Krieg
As the daughter of a combat Marine, I have had many bits of sage advice passed to me – usually in the form of warnings to defend against enemy attacks and strategic maneuvers. The passage of time has taught me just how many of these gems are relevant to the practice of law. However, recent events have brought a particular one into focus: “Whether it be in marriage, friendship or business, find people you want to be in a foxhole with. Find the people who will lay on a grenade for you. Once you find them, don’t let them go.”
In 2005, I joined Monica, a law school classmate who had recently started a land and environmental consulting firm. Within a few short months, Scott joined us as the third partner, and we were off and running. Over the next 18 years, we rode the boom-and-bust rollercoaster of the oil and gas business, experienced the fickleness of the law and learned to appreciate one another’s unique talents and tolerate the quirks and annoyances. We have seen one another through marriages, the births of many children and the loss of family members and have become stronger as a result. Our partnership has been tested by the fires of politics, economic downturns and changing lives.
On Jan. 1, 2023, my family was changed forever. On that day, my husband and I were told that our 17-year-old son was suffering from a serious form of cancer that had spread through his body. Overnight, our lives stopped. After calling our priest, the first call I made was to my partners with, “I don’t know when I will be back.” Without question or hesitation, they proceeded to carry us through the next eight months. Not only did they take on every one of my cases, but they also took care of my clients, brought in new clients for me and continued to sustain our company, which was still recovering from the devastating pandemic. I didn’t practice law for eight months, and I never missed a paycheck. More importantly, they cared for me and my family – from making a midnight run to many drugstores to find an elusive chemotherapy lotion, to hauling my younger children to orthodontist appointments, to taking all my teary overnight calls to recite countless Hail Marys, to bringing homemade soup to the hospital when nothing else would do.
Our son has been blessed and is now cancer-free and enjoying the best senior year ever. While we thank his medical team for all their care and expertise, my family and I know that two lawyers were equally responsible for his miracle. Their sacrifices made it possible for me to focus on his care and treatment, solely and obsessively, to be present every second and fiercely advocate for him – and it made all the difference in his recovery.
So my sage advice to young lawyers entering the profession is this: “Whether it be in marriage, friendship or business, find people you want to be in a foxhole with. Find the people who will lay on a grenade for you. Once you find them, don’t let them go.”
Ms. Krieg practices in Oklahoma City.
Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 95 Vol 9 (November 2023)
Statements or opinions expressed in the Oklahoma Bar Journal are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Oklahoma Bar Association, its officers, Board of Governors, Board of Editors or staff.