Jon Hoffheimer, Attorney

My grandfather, a lawyer, kept going to his office until the day before he was 100. He didn't go downtown on his hundredth birthday because he said there would be too much commotion (of course, he was right). But that day before his birthday turned out to be the last day of work; after his birthday, he retired. He celebrated his 100th through 104th birthdays at home. I don't know if I'll get that far, but if I do, I may be at my office.

After graduating from Walnut Hills High School I went to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, where I was a Russian Studies major. Besides learning a bit of the Russian language, history, economics, and social milieu, I took a lot of political science courses. I also learned a lot about the cold and snow — Upstate New York is part of the "snow-belt." Spring comes late; Fall leaves early.

From Colgate I went to Northwestern University School of Law, which is in the Near North part of Chicago. I consider myself privileged to have been able to go to school there. It's a great law school. Besides law, I also learned that Upstate New York does not have a lock on the cold. Chicago's nickname of "Windy City" is for a reason.

After law school I came back to Cincinnati and started practicing in my grandfather's firm. Looking back on it now, I had a choice: I could either have gone into his firm, or been drummed out of the family. Happily for me I opted to stay in the family. Again, I got a great education on how to practice law. But after 15 years I decided a large firm was not for me. I needed to get small. I went out on my own, which is about as small as you can get, and I have yet to regret it. I love what I do. And Cincinnati is not in the snow or wind belt.

I started practicing law in 1965 and did not anticipate whether or how I would specialize. It just sort of happened. I worked for one or two lawyers in the firm and their specialty was estate planning and probate. After trying a lot of areas, I fell into the same kind of practice as they had and now find it fits my personality and temperament. In addition, an adoption agency asked me to take over their representation from another lawyer who had retired, and that was the start of my adoption practice. It is not a great deal of my time, but it is a great deal of pleasure.

Probably one of the main reasons I enjoy my solo practice so much is that Lori Stroehlein is here. She started as secretary and receptionist. In a way she still is, but "Assistant" is a better description. She doesn't like the term, paralegal. My younger son calls her my "independent living supervisor" (I think she and my wife, Susan, share the supervision). She was born enough years ago that I'm not supposed to tell her age. We have worked together since 1980.

When I was starting out I couldn't understand why some lawyers stayed at the practice of law and didn't retire. Now I understand. If you like what you do, and you keep up with the changes in your field, there is no reason to retire. Plus, as we get older, we add on more and more experiences. And the experiences in my opinion add an important dimension to the legal advice that we give clients.

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© 2007 Jon Hoffheimer