Gary Miles is an attorney, entrepreneur, podcaster and life coach with a career that spans over 43 years. He is a managing partner at boutique litigation law firm Huesman, Jones & Miles. Nowadays he mostly handles family law but has also tried countless personal injury and insurance defense cases over the years. Gary also hosts The Free Lawyer Podcast, which helps lawyers become free from the things that hold them back, such as lack of confidence, fear, anxiety, and stress. His podcast episodes are inspired by his life experiences and his recovery. Having been sober and in recovery for 31 years, Gary reveals that many lawyers and judges often struggle with mental health issues, depression, anxiety, addiction and substance abuse. Lawyers often keep these problems hidden from everyone, but should know that it’s okay to reach out and ask for help before it’s too late. In this interview Gary explains why it’s so important to have gratitude in life, and why lawyers should try to listen more to resolve problems instead of wanting to argue and litigate everything.
The Free Lawyer Podcast
A transcript of this podcast is available at lovethylawyer.com.
Gary Miles concentrates in litigation in all areas, including transportation law, serious personal injury, family law, and estate disputes. He is an active member of the Baltimore County Bar Association, the Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ) and has been a member of many other legal organizations. He is a trained mediator with over 120 hours in mediation training. He has participated in over 1000 mediations and settlement conferences both as counsel for one of the parties and as the facilitator. His studies featured specialized training for divorce mediation, including a focused course on child access, property and financial issues, and commercial litigation mediation. He provides mediation services to the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore County; is on the approved list of mediators for the Circuit Court for Baltimore County and the Circuit Court for Howard County; and is a settlement master for the Circuit Court for Carroll County.
Gary was born and raised in the Baltimore area. He went to Loyola High School, where he was the valedictorian; to Loyola University in Baltimore where he graduated summa cum laude and top in the class with a 3.96 GPA; and to University of Maryland Law School where the earned the William Strobel Thomas award for the highest scholastic average.
Upon graduation, he served as the law clerk to the Hon. C. Stanley Blair in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. He began his practice with a small firm in Maryland before joining Lerch and Huesman, the predecesor to Huesman, Jones and Miles, in 1982. He became a partner in 1986.
Active in the Maryland legal community, Gary was a mock trial judge at the University of Maryland’s East Regional Mock Trial Tournament. He has served for years as a volunteer with the Attorney Grievance Commission on its Peer Review Committee and participates in the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. He holds an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review RatingSM from Martindale-Hubbell®.
Gary is a proud member of a blended family, with 2 children (including Buddy his law partner) and 3 stepchildren; and 5 grandchildren in his growing family. His wife Brenda is a nurse manager at a local medical facility. He and Brenda live in Cockeysville, and enjoy visiting the Pinehurst, North Carolina area regularly. He is very active with his family, and enjoys playing golf frequently.
Musical theme by Joel Katz, Seaside Recording, Maui
Technical support: Bryan Matheson, Skyline Studios, Oakland
Audiograms & Transcripts: Paul Roberts
We'd love to hear from you. Send me an email at louis@lovethyla
Music: Joel Katz, Seaside Recording, Maui
Tech: Bryan Matheson, Skyline Studios, Oakland
Audiograms: Paul Roberts
Attorney at Law
Gary Miles - Transcript
Louis Goodman 00:03
Welcome to Love Thy Lawyer, where we talk to attorneys about their lives and careers. I'm Louis Goodman, and today I have the privilege of talking with Gary Miles. Gary has been practicing law for more than 40 years. He's a trial lawyer, managing partner, and entrepreneur. Gary's passion is helping people solve problems and helping lawyers deal with the emotional, financial, and physical stresses of a busy practice. Gary is also a podcaster. I listen to his podcast on a regular basis. It's called The Free Lawyer Podcast, and it is not to be missed. Gary Miles, welcome to Love Thy Lawyer.
Gary Miles 00:47
Hey Lou, thank you very much and thank you for that introduction. I'm really glad to be here and I'm grateful for you and what you do with your podcasts. It's wonderful.
Louis Goodman 00:55
Thank you. Where are you talking to us from right now?
Gary Miles 00:59
I'm in my home office looking at the beautiful pine trees in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Louis Goodman 01:06
Is that where your primary practice is these days?
Gary Miles 01:09
So, I'm a Maryland attorney. I've lived in Maryland full-time, for 10 days, shy of 67 years, and I moved here in November. I now practice part-time. I help to run the practice and I go back to Baltimore to try cases from time to time.
Louis Goodman 01:28
What is the primary focus of your law practice?
Gary Miles 01:32
The primary focus, although not the exclusive one, is family law, divorce cases, and custody. We do also some plaintiff's personal injury, I do some insurance defense work, which is what I did primarily during my career, the first 30 years or so of my career.
Louis Goodman 01:49
And you've done a lot of litigation work, is that correct?
Gary Miles 01:52
I've tried a lot of cases, a lot of jury cases. I don't really know how many. A lot of personal injury cases. And in the last 13 years, a lot of family law matters.
Louis Goodman 02:02
I would like you to also briefly outline what your podcast, the Free Lawyer podcast is about.
Gary Miles 02:11
Sure. It's not about how to practice law and not get paid for it, so it's not in making all this free lawyers. But it's about helping us to be free of whatever stuff holds us back, whether it's lack of confidence, or fear, or anxiety, or stress or overwhelm or burnout. And I'll try to give in each message when I talk about fear or comparison, I try to give tools, handy tips, 6, 7, 8, depending on the topic of how to start handling that problem differently so you become free from it. Because we really can be imprisoned by our own thoughts.
As an example, I wanted to start the podcast for about four months and there was no reason I couldn't. I had all the technology down and had the techniques, but I thought, who wants to listen to an old guy talk about stuff? Podcasting is for young people, or just all these things I said to myself that weren't true.
And I realized all I can do is change that story. Maybe people like hearing my years of experience and the different things that I came across in 43 years of practicing law and managing a law practice. So, it's my goal to help whoever is stuck by something they have power over to free themselves from it, thereby the free lawyer.
Louis Goodman 03:31
I want to get back to both of those things a little later in this conversation, but first, where are you from originally?
Gary Miles 03:39
Baltimore, Maryland or its environments, and I was born there, lived there really, like I say, almost 67 years, and I was very provincial. I didn't get out of the state very much growing up. I even went on vacation down to Ocean in Ocean City, Maryland and didn't travel much, didn't check out other states. Went to law school, college, there, you name it. All my family was there.
And Baltimore is an area unlike some other cities like Denver. Everyone who's born in Baltimore, stays put. No one moves there for heaven's sakes. No one chooses to live there. So, if you go to a PTA meeting, everyone has lived there their whole life. You know, it's not like some areas where everybody moves to, and they're all new and no one is a native.
Louis Goodman 04:24
So where did you go to high school in Baltimore? Which school?
Gary Miles 04:27
I went to Loyola High School, a private Jesuit high school, located slightly north of the city limits in what's called Towson. Very demanding educationally. Very good. I really learned a lot. I was challenged.
What I share in my podcast is I was very fat, I wore goofy glasses, I was kind of geeky and I was really, really smart. And I was the smartest guy in my high school class, kind of, easily. And the combination of those wasn't really, didn't, none of those things made me popular. No one liked the fat kid with geeky glasses, but people didn't really like the person who did very well in the class that are struggling because it made them look bad, they couldn't say, you didn't teach it right, it's too hard, whatever because I was doing well.
So, I was really not very popular in high school. In fact, I'd say I was bullied and picked on and made fun. For various reasons, but I did do well in high school.
Louis Goodman 05:25
Where'd you end up going to college?
Gary Miles 05:27
So I had really wanted to go away to college, but we really couldn't afford it. So I went to Loyola College, now Loyola University in Baltimore and lived at home and I got a full scholarship. So I went there, a little late for free and graduated in three years from Loyola in Baltimore.
Louis Goodman 05:47
You ultimately went to law school. Did you go straight through, or did you take some time off between college and law school?
Gary Miles 05:52
I went straight through, so I went to University of Maryland Law School in downtown Baltimore. University of Maryland has a number of campuses when you think of the Terrapins, that's more towards D.C. and College Park, but the professional schools, including the law school in downtown Baltimore. And I lived at home and commuted there and went to that law school. It was very good, very good law school.
Louis Goodman 06:14
When did you first start thinking about being a lawyer where you said, hey, I really wanna be a lawyer, I really wanna go to law school, this is my life's career?
Gary Miles 06:25
It was really my plan for quite some time. I have an older brother who's nine years my senior. He and I were always close and connected. In many ways, I followed his footsteps. His name was Gene Miles, and I knew he liked it and he was good at it. We went to the same high school, went to the same college, went to the same law school, and that really was my plan all along.
Louis Goodman 06:46
And I assume your family and your friends were really supportive of this endeavor?
Gary Miles 06:51
Oh, for sure. Absolutely.
Louis Goodman 06:54
When you first got out of law school, what kind of job did you take?
Gary Miles 06:59
So, during law school, I might have mentioned to you off air. I've been an avid golfer for quite some time, and I caddied at a local country club that was nice and upscale. And there I caddied for a lawyer who happened to be a friend of my dad's. And so, before law school, in the summer before law school actually started clerking in his law firm and then upon graduation from law school, I had the privilege of clerking in Federal Court for a really wonderful judge, which I loved. Federal court was great.
And then I returned to work at that same firm where I had clerked before law school, called Baker & Baker. Nice people. I really wanted to learn to do trial work. They were commercial attorneys, they were business advisors, they were problem solvers, but they weren't litigators. And so, I left and went with kind of a boutique smaller litigation defense firm, then called Lurch & Huesman and I was there July 9th, 1982. And I'm there today. It's now called Huesman, Jones & Miles.
Louis Goodman 08:04
And can you tell us a bit about the kind of practice that you have?
Gary Miles 08:09
So, I started off doing mostly all insurance defense work of various kinds for various insurance companies. It became more concentrated, and I focused on the transportation industry.
So, I represented trucking companies and truck drivers in personal injury cases through their insurance companies, or sometimes through a self-insured trucking company, but most often through insurance companies.
So, I defended personal injury cases representing the trucking company. and the truck driver through the insurance company and, you know, not necessarily favored defendants. They've become better liked since we had a supply chain crisis, because now we all want trucks to bring the stuff that isn't in the stores to the store so we could actually have food on the shelves. But back then no one liked truck drivers, no one.
So, it's sort of a challenging gig in that sense. But I liked it. I liked actually personalizing my truck driver and painting him as the person who actually brought the food to the food stores or to the Nordstrom's or to whatever the local place was, and, and got juries to relate to him.
And what I liked about it was my insurance company clients were very intelligent, very professional, very wise, very experienced. So I know my family law, and probably in your criminal law, you represent people who aren't really attuned to the legal process. But in that arena, my clients were very, very wise about the legal process, what it meant, what could go right, what could go wrong.
Louis Goodman 09:43
Yeah. Compare and contrast that a little bit with the family law, because later on you started doing more family law and family law litigation. How did you move into that and what did you like or not like about family law?
Gary Miles 09:55
So, I moved into that in 2009, so I would've then been 54 when I reinvented myself and entered an area of law I was only vaguely familiar with. I had everybody, I guess people coming for divorce cases. I always referred them out.
I did it for several reasons. One was a business decision because I either, except for a period of time when we did, had a foreclosure book of business, which is kind of separate because that's not really practicing law in the traditional sense. But other than that, we had one to four attorneys all along. And at that period of time, it actually was solo. My son was with me, but working in the foreclosure practice with another firm and I had two primary insurance companies I did work for, and that's a very unsafe place to be because insurance companies get a different boss in and he switches to who the guy he liked, or they have a different business model. And I had only two eggs in my basket and I needed to have a basket that had more eggs than that.
But the other thing that to me was, insurance defense work was good. It was challenging and I liked it, but it was sort of pretend...
Louis Goodman 11:04
What do you mean by that? What do you mean by, what do you mean by pretend?
Gary Miles 11:08
The plaintiff is already hurt as bad as he is gonna be hurt. It is what it is. He's not gonna get better. And the plaintiff would hire a doctor and we all know who the doctor's gonna be and we all know what he's gonna say because it's always kind of the same. And we would hire a defense doctor and we all would know what he was gonna say because he only does defense work and it's always the same thing. I mean, I really could half write three reports for both of them. And then I go in and I act like I really know this truck driver and I either had never met him before, or more likely maybe met him at his deposition if it was taken. And after the trial is over, I'll never see or hear from him again. He doesn't really care. He has an obligation to cooperate. He has an obligation to appear to testify, but he has no skin in the game because he has insurance that's calling the shots.
So, you know, the whole, it was about money, and it was a game for the plaintiff side to try to get as much money as they could and maybe arguably beyond what is deserved. And it's my job to make it be as small, maybe below what was deserved. So sort of a game, it is all about money, and it really wasn't real in the sense that nothing was gonna make the plaintiff feel better. And if the plaintiff had the choice, because they've done a lot of personal injury mediations, it's always a case that the injured party had a choice, they give up the claim if they weren't injured. They would love to undo that if they could. But you never were gonna make them better.
So, that's what I mean by it was pretend. I mean, it was real work. We were doing our job. It was good. There's a valid purpose in it, but I didn't feel enough of a connection with either my trucking client or my insurance. I had a connection with my insurance client, but they kind of have so much, you know, they have a nice balance sheet. If I win or lose a cake, that isn't gonna break the year for them. But I like family law for a couple reasons.
One was a business thing that I mentioned that now I have a diversity of clients. I've handled hundreds of divorce cases for hundreds of different clients and that gives some level of security. So, if any one of them moves and switches to a different lawyer, I don't care because I have the other cases. But what I really grew to love, was the personal connection I have with my clients because I read that there's nothing more stressful in life other than a contested difficult divorce with the exception of the loss of a child. That's apparently the most stressful event someone can have and a contested, difficult divorce is the second.
And the folks who I'd start representing it were full of fear and anger and hurt and confusion because they didn't know what their life was gonna look like. We couldn't make bills meet with two of us and one of 'em, now we've got to have two homes and how are we gonna do that? What will it look like? And I like picking them up, lifting them, supporting them, painting them a vision of what their life could look like, letting 'em know how we're gonna get there, and giving them very specific assignments of what to do.
Give me the documents I need, give the information I need. Ignore all the other stuff. Ignore the letters, ignore the allegations. Just gimme what I need. Be a good parent. Go to the soccer game. Give your kid a nice meal. Hug them and let me take care of the rest. And we get through it and it's so nice. I get thank you from those clients, you know, how helpful I was to them at a difficult time and that's really special to me and very fulfilling to get that kind of appreciation from clients for helping them in such a difficult time.
Louis Goodman 14:36
What do you really like about practicing law? You've been doing it for quite some time.
Gary Miles 14:42
I like helping people solve their problems and get past, you know, they don't come to us. If I go to a massage, I go to get something that I find relaxing, but no one comes to see us because everything's good in their life. They're coming because there's some major problem that they need help with, and I love helping them solve that problem and get past it.
I've had one very serious legal matter that my law firm was a party to. I'm a litigator with like 40 years of experience, 35 years of experience and it scared me to death. I was nervous and tense and stressed, so I could really understand when someone who's a novice at the legal arena, how they feel when they get letters from the other lawyer calling them names or someone testifies in court in a way that is false and how that bothers them. So, I like to help carry them and help them get through that and get to the other side where they can be free of that stress and that pressure.
Louis Goodman 15:43
If a young person was just coming out of college and thinking about a career, would you recommend law?
Gary Miles 15:50
Well, I think it really depends on the person and what their reason is and what their motivation. The answer is yes. I think it's a good career. I think there are a lot of stresses in it. I don't think it's something to be done lightly because law school is a challenge. It's expensive and I think if someone really is committed and wants to be a lawyer and has a passionate reason why they want to, I think there's no better career.
You made a fantastic career, you know, in California with what you do, and I've made a good career with what I've done, and so yes, I would recommend it to the right person for the right reasons.
Louis Goodman 16:24
Well, what about the business of practicing law? You know, how's that gone for you? I mean, one of the things you just mentioned was you moved out of the insurance defense into family law because you felt it was important to have your own book of business? I think it's important for every lawyer to be able to have and develop their own book of business, but I'm wondering how that aspect of the practice of law has gone for you.
Gary Miles 16:51
It's gone well, I guess it's a bit like the stock market. You know, if you look over the 40 years I've been practicing, the stock market's gone up a whole lot. But there are times it's been difficult, right? There’s times we've had crashes and slowdowns and so I, you know, I would say most of the time it's been very good and very successful.
But there were unquestionably some stressful, stressful times in there. And, you know, when you are in a smaller firm, the pressures can be a little bit different. I don't know necessarily what the pressures are like in a big firm, but in a small firm, if you lose a major client, it's a problem because you don't have that many major clients.
So, you know, I've had ups and downs. I've had, you know, five ups for every down. But the downs were very challenging and very stressful and very scary. When you think about making payroll and you have a staff and you're wondering if you will have enough cash to take a draw to pay your own bills. But really on the whole, it's been, you know, it's been good.
Louis Goodman 17:49
What do you think is the best advice you've ever received?
Gary Miles 17:52
Be true to yourself. Be true to yourself. I think it's important for lawyers to have our word be our bond, and we do argue the case and we do paint the facts our side before the jury, or the finder of fact, but yet we need to be honorable and be true to ourselves and our values and be truthful with counsel and with the court.
Louis Goodman 18:17
Do you think the legal system's fair?
Gary Miles 18:18
I do think it's fair. Having said that, it seems like I've never gotten a predictable result in any case I've tried, but that is the system and I think it's fair. You could look at an individual case and say that's a bizarre result, but I don't think that's because the system is unfair.
Louis Goodman 18:38
I'd like to talk a little bit about your podcast and what got you interested in podcasting and what got you interested in the subject of your podcast, which is giving people who are professionals, lawyers for the most part, feeling a freedom in their own lives.
Gary Miles 19:00
You know, when I came to North Carolina, I lived in Maryland all that time, and I came here because my wife got a job here and I sort of hastened my downsizing from the active practice of law. And I'd become active on LinkedIn, which is just a great social media site.
And I realized that I had a passion to help and support lawyers.
I've been sober in recovery for 31 years. When I was in Maryland, I chaired the Maryland Lawyer Assistance Committee of our Bar Association, and I assume there's something like that in California. But we would find lawyers and judges who were struggling with mental health issues, whether it's depression, anxiety, addiction, substance abuse, and try to help them before it is too late. And I realized when I came here I needed to have something. You're still practicing full-time. I had been practicing full-time, but it sort of suddenly changed and I didn't wanna lose that passion of service that I had as a lawyer where I helped my clients solve problems. I realized there are a lot of lawyers who have problems that are often hidden and not discussed because we lawyers are in charge. We're smart, we're authoritative, we have all the answers. We know what's going on, and it's very hard for a lawyer to say, I need support, or I'm stuck.
And so I really have a passion for helping our legal profession and individual lawyers be as happy and successful as they can.
Since I entered my program of recovery, I've changed a whole lot in how I look at things. I used to be controlled by a lot of outside circumstances, by people, by events, and I've learned how to free myself from all that stuff. From fear, from anxiety, from worrying about what you think of me or or the podcast listeners think of me. The need to be perfect. I've always struggled with perfectionism my whole life. And I think it came from my childhood where I had to, and people pleasing came from my childhood because I wasn't popular. And so I strove really hard to be successful so that no one could say, oh, you're not that good because.
And so, so many of us have things that hold us back that we really have so much power over because we have power over our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions. And so many times we get stuck worried about what other people think or worried about fear or projecting ahead.
I used to try cases years ago and I'd worry so much about the result. What does this mean if I lose, why lose this client? What will people think of me? And I learned that's a stupid exercise. All it does is create stress and anxiety and distracts me from the task at hand. And do my best job and I'm gonna win some, I'm gonna lose some. You're a good lawyer. I'm a good lawyer, we go against each other, one is gonna win, one it's gonna lose. It doesn't make us a failure; it means the system worked. And so I just learned to focus on what I was doing instead of focusing on the future and the outcome so much.
So I just realized there's so many ways that lawyers today need support and they often aren't able to really ask for it. So I thought by doing the podcast, and I have a LinkedIn newsletter that I do weekly with about 2,500 followers, the word will get out that there may be answers to some of these things that you're. They can listen to podcasts while they're jogging in the morning and maybe there'll be something there that helps them.
Louis Goodman 22:22
There were two podcasts specifically that you did recently. It was like a double podcast about setting boundaries and about the ability and willingness to say no that I thought were really well done and had some really good information. One of the things that you do in all of your podcasts or most of your podcasts, is you give 10 steps to get to a better place. And I'm wondering how you came up with that notion and that format and how your mind works along those things.
Gary Miles 23:05
Well, I'm very analytical and not very creative, so I think sort of linearly. And so I normally work in kind of laying out what the problem is, how it holds us back, and then I do try to give a number of tangible tips that will help people to overcome whatever that problem was. And that that episode was about people-pleasing and how we can try to be nice to other people but sometimes we cross a line where we kind of let ourselves go and all we think about is saying yes to everybody. If someone is upset about something went wrong, we take responsibility for it. I'm sorry, even I'm not sorry. meaning it, it wasn't my fault.
And for me that was a huge problem, people-pleasing. So I find it's helpful to not just talk about the problem, it's about a few things, but really give people some tangible steps that I kind of have 'em laid in a certain order that it makes sense to go through them one through eight. It's not always 10, but it's usually more than five and less than 10. But I have an order that makes sense for them, to really try cause it's like, well, if I'm struggling with this and some lawyer hears the podcast. Okay, so what can I do about it? Here's what you can do about it. Try this.
Louis Goodman 24:18
Where do you get your inspiration for the subjects of your podcast?
Gary Miles 24:22
Partly my recovery experience and partly just my life experience. Most of the things in there are things that I've struggled with. So recently it was about expectations, and I've learned if I have expectations, I'm gonna be disappointed, you know. If I try a case, I expect to win it, one of two things gonna happen, I'm gonna win it and go like, okay, well I expected that. I don't enjoy the exhilaration of the incredible victory. Or I expected to win and I lose and I'm crushed. So I've had those, I've had all those experiences, whether it's perfectionism, people-pleasing, regrets, comparison. Comparing myself to other people, either in terms of business success or tangible things or how far they hit the golf ball.
I play a lot of golf. I don't hit the golf ball very far. Played with a guy today, he's out hitting me by 50 yards. We were competing, but it's like, man, I wish I could hit that shot. I can't hit that shot, you know?
Louis Goodman 25:15
Do you have a business of coaching lawyers?
Gary Miles 25:20
I do. I do. Have individual coaching that I do with lawyers. I'm thinking about developing sort of a coaching course for them, but right now I realize it's better because everyone comes from a different place. They have different concerns, different issues, different needs. I meet with them in either one, five or 10 sessions spread over time. I give them preparation to do for each session, some questions for them to think about, reflect on and answer. I keep detailed notes of what we talk about and I always give homework for them to do before the next session.
Louis Goodman 25:54
What's your family life been like and how has that fit into the practice of law?
Gary Miles 26:02
Well, I'm blessed in that my practice of law has never been too overwhelming from a time perspective. I know so many lawyers today are burdened with the expectation of hourly billing requirements. You have to bill a certain number of hours. I never had that. I've never had that once in my legal career.
And so, you know, my work schedule was 8:30 to 5:30, except when I'm in trial, then it's kind of unlimited. And so really my legal career didn't interfere at all with my family. I got divorced in 2008, remarried in 2010 to my wife Brenda. I have two children, she has three. Together we count them all as our own and I don't refer to her children as my stepchildren, but my children. And so we have five children. Youngest is 23 and a teacher in Baltimore, Maryland and the oldest is my son Buddy, 42, who's my law partner. So they range from 23 to 42 and we have five grandchildren and counting, and they are absolutely the best in the world. It's just unbelievable. So we hope to have more.
Louis Goodman 27:17
Now, I know you play golf. Are there any other recreational pursuits or things that you do to get your mind off the practice and the podcast and the work?
Gary Miles 27:28
I love playing pickleball. I used to play tennis. I found it hard to play tennis well and golf well. So tennis kind of fell by the wayside.
Louis Goodman 27:36
What mistakes do you think lawyers make?
Gary Miles 27:39
Missing the big picture. I think that too often we wanna argue and fight instead of find solutions to problems, I guess I don't know a lot about criminal law that you do, but I still think you're trying to help solve your client's problem and maybe you have communications with the prosecutor about possible resolutions, but I know in family law it's really all about solving the couple's problem.
And yet some lawyers wanna fight. They wanna argue, they wanna litigate everything and the only people are paying for us in the family law arena are our two respective clients. And I'd rather say, what can we do to find a solution to this?
And I think the single most important thing is lawyers don't listen. We love to talk, but we don't listen. And listening is an amazing skill for lawyers because every time I listen, I learn.
Louis Goodman 28:33
Is there someone that you'd like to meet living or dead? And if so, what would you ask that person?
Gary Miles 28:42
That's a good question. You know, I'd like to have met Abraham Lincoln. I think he was a person of such amazing courage and foresight and made so many difficult decisions for our country that I think were simply amazing at a very, very difficult time and helped the country get through something so very, very, you know, challenging.
And I would just like to ask why he never cared what other people thought about what he did, because it seemed like he was so courageous and independent. You know, I don't know. Back then they probably didn't have polls, right? But, yet everybody knew what people thought, and there were so many passionate views on both sides of the topic. And yet he was strong and firm in what he thought should be done, and I think that was very, very powerful.
Louis Goodman 29:37
How do you define success?
Gary Miles 29:39
Success to me, a good day for me is when I'm true to myself. When I'm real and I'm genuine and I'm authentic. When I'm not letting other people or circumstances control my happiness, I've learned that my happiness doesn't come from getting what I want, it comes from wanting what I have.
Louis Goodman 30:00
Let's say you came into some real money, 3 or 4 billion dollars. What, if anything, would you do differently in your life?
Gary Miles 30:07
I don't see me spending it to change what I have or where I am. I've learned that stuff doesn't make me happy. You know, for a while I went through life just trying to get more, a bigger retirement, a better house and I realized that that doesn't have anything to do with how happy I am. And I've seen in my family law arena situations where people inherited a lot of money and everything went to the crapper.
I would really think about how I could best utilize it to serve my community, if not the world.
I think there are a whole lot of needs and I think I would probably figure out ways to invest it in the recovery community. So, where I live, there are very few recovery centers, very few halfway houses. I have someone I've worked with in the program, and he's done that and he's opened up some halfway houses. So, I think I would do that to give people who are struggling a real option of ways to get better, and some of them are extremely, extremely expensive. And, and I like to have scholarships for people who didn't have insurance or whatever.
And then things to improve our education system. I have two daughters who are teachers who are in the education arena. They're so underpaid, they're so overworked, and there's so many kids in their class, and it really needs a lot more funding. I mean, I hate that my two daughters spend a thousand dollars a year to buy stuff for their classroom. To me, that's obscene that the county doesn't give them a thousand dollars to buy stuff to put on walls and books to have in class. They're expected to do that on their own. So I think I'd really do think to support teachers and the educational community.
Louis Goodman 31:45
Let's say you had a magic wand, there was one thing in the world you could change, the legal world or otherwise. What would that be?
Gary Miles 31:52
So, I think that I would, if I could remove the hate that seems to be so present in the world right now and in our country and I just wish that the hate we have in our country and in the world could, could be removed and that we could live in peace. And listen to each other and understand each other, knowing we could have very different viewpoints about various topics, and they all may be legitimate.
Louis Goodman 32:17
Let's say someone gave you 60 seconds on the Super Bowl, Super Bowl ad, reach a huge audience. What would you put on that Super Bowl ad?
Gary Miles 32:25
Yeah, I would just put a plug in for putting our selfish interest aside and listening and caring for people around us. And it kind of gets back to what I said before, to get rid of the hate and just be of service to others. And you know, I've found, when I'm struggling, the one thing that always works for me is to be of service. When I'm feeling self-centered, selfish, things aren't going my way and I'm upset, if someone calls me and asks me to talk to 'em and help him through something, I feel better. And so I would, I put a plug in for everybody just put hate aside and reach out to others less fortunate and see if you can be of service regardless of what their beliefs, color of their skin are, any of those things.
Louis Goodman 33:14
Gary, if someone wants to get in touch with you, what's the best way to do that? Is there a website or something that would be a good way of reaching out?
Gary Miles 33:24
Sure. So for those on LinkedIn, I'm very, very active there under my name Gary Miles. I have a website which is www.GaryMiles.net and they can email me at email@example.com .
Louis Goodman 33:38
Gary, is there anything else that you wanted to talk about that we haven't touched on or mentioned?
Gary Miles 33:43
No, I think, you know, if I could put a plug in for everybody, it's to be grateful. You know, a lot of us have things in life that aren't what we want. People aren't acting how they want, bills, finances, whatever it might be. But so many of us are blessed in so many ways and one thing I usually ask people to do, who work with me is to, for 30 days, write down three things every morning when they wake up that they're grateful for. And the three things you write down cannot repeat themselves. So, you could say, I'm grateful for my wife and my kid one and my kid two, but you only do that once. And so what happens is after three weeks, you're on a search for something to be grateful for and there's nothing that is more freeing than to be searching for something to be grateful for, rather than searching for something to be miserable about. So that's, that would be my plug for everybody, to try that little gratitude exercise and see you in 30 days how do you feel.
Louis Goodman 34:45
Gary Miles, thank you so much for joining me today on the Love Thy Lawyer Podcast. It's been a pleasure to talk to you.
Gary Miles 34:52
Lou, thank you very much. You're a great guy and I'm honored to be here with you.
Louis Goodman 34:56
That's it for today's episode of Love Thy Lawyer. If you enjoyed listening, please share it with a friend and follow the podcast. If you have comments or suggestions, send me an email. Take a look at our website at lovethylawyer.com, where you can find all of our episodes, transcripts, photographs and information.
Thanks to my guests and to Joel Katz from music, Bryan Matheson for technical support, Paul Robert for social media and Tracy Harvey. I'm Louis Goodman.
Gary Miles 35:34
I think if I had done that, that might be a very different story. It would've been a very different journey, a very different experience, and I don't actually know what that would've looked like.