Who is Joe Tackett and why should you care that he is unleashed? I first met Joe when he was a young lawyer working for a collection law firm in Cleveland representing the bad guys at creditor meetings in chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. His professional life has gone from police officer, to attorney, and to magistrate. Joe’s strength is that he is a dreamer. Today is his last day as a magistrate in the Lorain County Domestic Relations Court.
Step back with me to last night. I went to Moss’ for a healthy meat and veggie dinner. I sat close to the bar, and ordered. Two divorce lawyers came by and invited me over to what was left of their Lorain County Bar Divorce Section meeting. I often attend these. Divorce lawyers are a great source of bankruptcy client referrals. Fortunately the meeting had wound down so I didn’t face my normal Q & A about divorce issues in bankruptcy. Hard day. Secretary out sick. I was spent.
Those still there were talking with Joe Tackett about his pending resignation. His last day is today. I learned some things I didn’t know about divorce magistrates:
- They are rarely elected judge
- Only other lawyers really know who they are
- They are kept hidden away
- They get a good salary
- They are forbidden by law from doing any other jobs for pay on their own time. All this is written in legally binding rules of ethics for Ohio magistrates. If they do it, they are out.
I heard the magistrate job referred to as wearing golden handcuffs. I think Joe sees a golden leash, and Joe wants unleashed. It sounds to me more like a golden noose. Joe is a writer. Over his years as magistrate he has been writing novels. The rules don’t allow him to sell his books. He is also a blogger, and you can find him here. It’s new, and edgy, and very well written. When I was a criminal lawyer we would have called him a true believer. You need to see the movie of the same name to understand why.
Joe has a dream. He believes in it enough to walk away from a good paying, secure job to chase it. It is a tough economy out there, he knows that. Since he quit there will be no unemployment benefits. He is still an attorney. He knows divorce law backward and forward, but he has no marketing in place, and he has no clients. But starting tomorrow, watch out, Joe Tackett is unleashed.