The challenges of working together as husband and wife have been conquered by Reginald and Janelle Eskridge of the Eskridge Law Firm. The Eskridges have successfully balanced home and work for over 20 years, providing their clients with professionalism, dedication and experience. Here they share their blueprint for success.
Carlee McCullough, Esq.: Tell us a little bit about the Eskridges.
Reginald Eskridge: We are husband and wife law firm. I am from Memphis and a graduate of Hamilton High School, Southwest Tennessee Community College (Shelby State Community College), the University of Memphis, and Southern University Law Center.
Janelle Eskridge: I am originally from Lafayette, La., and I'm a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Tulane Law School.
CM: How did you become interested in the legal field?
JE: My interest began early with an interest in public service and later I developed an interest in corporate business law.
RE: I started with a music business and production background and used law to supplement my music career.
CM: What areas of law do you practice?
JE: Business, personal injury and entertainment law.
CM: Are there any challenges in working together as husband and wife?
JE: The major challenge is learning to separate work life from family life. We tend to devote more time to client matters because we talk about legal matters all hours of the day, even while on vacation. If an issue or an idea about a case strategy comes up, we tend to discuss the issues involved, always trying to find the best solution for our clients. We really never stop thinking about legal matters.
CM: Who has been your inspiration as lawyers?
RE & JE: While there are countless persons who have inspired us, too many to name, some include the many civil rights leaders who paved the way for us to obtain an education, those who opened doors that were previously closed to people of color. In the legal community, so many attorneys paved the way, like Chancellor Walter Evans, Judge John Donald and Judge Russell Sugarman, and the late Benjamin Hooks, just to name a few.
In addition, Mayor (AC Wharton Jr.) and Mrs. Ruby Wharton, who as a husband and wife, maintained a successful law firm for many years and who have spent time to mentor to us and continue to inspire us as the firm continues with its rich legacy that includes second generation Whartons. Clive Davis, a renowned entertainment lawyer and music executive is also an inspiration.
Finally, our clients inspire us and drive us to be the best that we can be, challenging us to find solutions for the problems and situations they face. Helping a client launch a new business is exciting, in that we can not only help that client fulfill their dream, we can also watch the new business grow and develop and hopefully provide opportunities for their communities.
CM: Is now the best time to become an entrepreneur or launch a law firm?
JE: "Now" is always the best time to follow your passion. Failure to do so can tend to crush the spirit. However, plan, plan, plan to see what you are going to need to be successful in launching your firm or business venture. Be sure to get your plans in place before you start. We've all heard the adage, "A failure to plan is a plan to fail."
CM: Any closing remarks?
JE & RE: We want to thank you and the Tri-State Defender and (president/ publisher) Mr. Bernal E. Smith II, publicly, as we have expressed to you privately, that your column is so important in that you speak to perspective business entrepreneurs and bring them the ideas and procedures to get started in business, in addition to inspiring them to pursue their dream by viewing the success of others you highlight in your weekly articles.
The minority community for too long has depended on others for jobs and their welfare and in some ways they are missing out on that part of America that understands that America is "in business." Small business is the engine that runs our country. A man that knows how to fish will never be poor and he can in turn help others learn to fish. Thank you again for your inspiration.
(For additional information about the Eskridge & Eskridge Law Firm please visit www.eskridgefirm.com.)
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