Behind the Scenes with Denis Kitchen

This month we would like to introduce to you Denis Kitchen.  Denis has been practicing law for over four decades and brings a wealth of knowledge and life experience with him.  This kind-hearted man is a solo attorney in Williamsville, NY.  Let’s jump right in!

So Denis, can you tell us who or what inspired you to become an attorney?

“While in the Navy, I met a number of attorneys in a Toastmasters club.  I enjoyed public speaking and the subject matter that they dealt with, so I took the LSAT and scored reasonably well.  When I got out of the Navy, I was able to go to law school on the GI Bill.”

Would you mind walking us through, step-by-step, the process you went through to get to where you are today?

“I applied to SUNYAB Law School and was accepted.  It took 2-1/2 years (summers included) to complete; then, I took the bar exam and passed it.  Since the end of my first year at school, I was clerking for a naval officer I knew from the Navy Reserve, and after I passed the bar and was admitted, I continued working for him.  He was a general practice attorney who did civil litigation (accidents) plus family law, bankruptcy, collections, and criminal law, so I learned a broad variety of practice specialties.  After a couple years, I was hired by a large firm with 20+ attorneys as their family law specialist, and I did divorces and related family law work for about 5 years.  Eventually, I became uncomfortable starting divorces for people, and I felt God was telling me to get out of  the divorce business, so I left the big firm and went out on my own; I’ve been a solo practitioner ever since. Now that I’m over 75 years old, I’m trying to cut back and work less, but I still get a lot of business.”

Denis, how do you structure your days?

“I go to work regularly, usually by 9, rely on Google Calendar for my scheduling, and pretty much work on whatever is most urgent.  I avoid taking most cases involving evening court, and every night I take home a briefcase of paperwork to continue at home.”

When handling criticism, what is your best advice?

“If it’s from a client, address it and try to cure the problem.  If it’s from people who bash lawyers in general, I stick up for the profession.  “

If a kid walked up to you and asked your advice, but you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

“Normally, I’d try to give some competent advice addressed to their specific problem or direct them to some helpful source.  The most general advice to anyone would be to seek God in your life and trust in him.”

Alright, Denis.  I’m sure you’ve had some surprising lessons you’ve learned along your journey.  Can you share those with us?

“God never leaves you. Whether good times or bad, he is always there.”

How do you balance work and family life?

“Family has to come first. The work fits in around that.”

What do you want your legacy to be, Denis?

“He was faithful, trustworthy, and had a sense of humor.”

So what’s next for you?

“More of the same.  Working can be difficult or wearisome sometimes, but it’s better than not working.”

What is one thing you want our readers to take away from this?

“God is in charge—follow his lead.”

General Info

Would you like to give insight into your journey as an attorney?  Know someone else that does?  Contact us today!