How Did We Get Here?

“How does the youngest of 8 from a small, pristine town on Long Island, New York become owner of Adoption Network Law Center?  Funny story, because I never set out on a path to be a lawyer.  Let me give you a little history: I knew I wanted to get out of the small town environment and be a small fish in a big pond.  I went far (much to my parent’s dismay!) and I went big.  I found myself right at home on the UC Berkeley campus.  It was the best thing I could have ever done; it opened my eyes to the world. I experienced so much—large auditorium classes, Apartheid protests, homelessness and so much diversity.  I would have stayed a few more years had they let me!  Not knowing what I wanted to do next, I then applied to law school.  Still, with no intention of being a lawyer.

I attended law school at Pepperdine University and fairly early on I knew that I wasn’t going to like “lawyering.” I struggled through law school because it is such a different way of thinking. It was challenging.  I stuck with it because my dad told me that there were so many different things I could do with a law degree-I didn’t have to be limited to being a lawyer.  I had no idea where my law degree would take me, but I knew I had to commit to take the ride.

To help pay for my Bar Exam prep courses, I sold Bar Review prep classes to my fellow law students (everyone takes a Bar prep class).  It was very easy for me to talk with people about the course because I came to know it well and believed in the product.  I became so good at it they offered me a job.  While my counterparts were working in the traditional law firm setting billing hours, I got to travel around the U.S. selling and teaching the course.  It was perfect for me because I got to spend time getting to know people and supporting them through a very grueling and stressful process.  Are you sensing a theme, here??

After settling in Orange County and starting a family, the travelling around the country to teach and sell wasn’t ideal.  I set out to search for my professional passion. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next because I knew I didn’t fit the typical lawyer profile.  I tried being a substitute teacher at a local middle school. I quickly realized that I was better suited teaching adults (middle school teachers deserve a medal of honor!).    I worked as a dependency lawyer representing parents who had their children removed from their custody for abuse or neglect.  I wanted to help these people get back on track to be good parents.  It became increasingly frustrating when I wasn’t successful.  I then transitioned to juvenile delinquency and saw a glimmer of hope.  I could catch them at an earlier age and help them to get on the right track.  I did have some successes along the way, but I don’t think it had much to do with my lawyering prowess. Rather, it was the connection I made with these youths and my inner passion to help people.

I was a jack of all trades but a master of none. After working for a couple of years in a more ‘typical’ law position, a friend from law school approached me asking if I would be interested in working in adoption, which led me to ANLC.

I joined the ANLC family in 2007 and haven’t looked back since. The learning curve was steep but the aspect I like most is not the legal side, it’s talking to people who just want to have a family. Or it’s a Birth Mother who is selfless and understands the importance of providing her child a better life. It’s the working with people part that feels right.

Honestly, I still don’t know if being a lawyer is my calling, but I truly believe I am where I am supposed to be.”


Written by Jason Granillo

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