Career day. Second grade. In my brown, corduroy blazer and matching briefcase (don’t judge – it was the early ‘80s), I was surrounded by football players and ballerinas. Undeterred by the apparent lack of popularity of my career choice (and attire), I confidently placed a paper tent on my desk that read “Dena Castricone, Attorney-at-Law.” My teacher asked where I wanted to go to law school and, without hesitation, I replied “Yale.”
I veered from the path to becoming a lawyer only once. During my teenage years, I was convinced that I was destined to be a rock star. The big hair kind. My lack of musical talent, however, and my love of debate club, mock trial and student government eventually brought me back to my reality. It also helped that my band could never practice because our drummer was always grounded. Before leaving high school, I was back on track.
Yale didn’t happen but I did become a lawyer. After college, I needed to work so I went to law school at night and worked full-time for most of my law school career. I was fortunate enough to get a summer associate position at a law firm for the summer of 2001. My good fortune continued when I was invited to clerk for the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court after law school. Then, after my clerkship, I returned to the law firm and stayed for more than 15 years before turning the page and joining a client as general counsel and chief of privacy.
It seems odd to summarize more than 20 years in one paragraph, but there it is. That two-decade journey, featuring excruciatingly painful moments, immensely joyful times and everything in between, brought me to where I am today. There were even times when I questioned my career choice. While the details of my journey may be the subject of a future post, for today, I want to focus on the present.
Just a few short months ago, I took the biggest risk of my professional life and opened my own privacy and healthcare law practice. While serving as general counsel, I missed many things about practicing law, especially working with clients. After much consideration and prep work, and with the unwavering love and support of my wife, DMC Law was born. And every day since has been fantastic.
On this Valentine’s Day, I want to celebrate the love I have for the work I do. I love being a lawyer and I am grateful for the journey that brought me here. I love my clients and working with them to solve problems. I love being a student of the law. I love writing about the law. I love owning my own business. And I love how happy I am when I am doing what I love.
In second grade, I must have known that some undefined number of years later, I would discover a love and passion for my work as a lawyer that no other career could offer. I’m thankful that I stayed the course all those years and that I did not let any obstacles along the way disappoint that sage second grader.
As for my love of music, I never really gave up. I found a way to overcome my lack of musical skill; I married a talented and beautiful musician. She completes me.
Wishing everyone the kind of love that permeates every aspect of life. Happy Valentine’s Day!