Josh Smith found the legal profession almost by accident. The first in his family to attend college, Smith received a scholarship and enrolled in night classes at the University of Colorado Denver. He needed a day job and responded to an ad posted on a campus bulletin board for a runner at a law firm downtown, two floors up from where he works now as a senior paralegal at Wilmer Hale.
“That was back in the days when you actually had to go to courthouses to file something,” Smith said. “My whole job was basically going to all the courthouses to take things to the clerks and get copies of briefs and bring them back.”
At the time, Smith never imagined the job would be his first in a long fulfilling career in the legal profession. His father spent most of his life working as a police officer; Smith knew he wasn’t interested in following that path. In college, he studied economics and after graduation accepted a job as a statistician crunching numbers for the Federal Reserve Bank. But he soon found his way back to the law.
A friend of his father’s, a managing partner at Holme Roberts & Owen, offered him a position at the firm as a case assistant. Smith left the Federal Reserve and settled in to what would become his new career. “I really liked being around the professionals, and I really started to see the law fi rm in a completely different perspective,” Smith said. “I think people have a perception that lawyers are something that they’re really not. Most lawyers don’t do flashy things; most people don’t have salacious cases. You know, there’s a lot of little problems that regular people need resolved.”