The local community mourns the recent loss of a great man, judge, husband, father, and self-proclaimed magician. Judge Eugene Austin gave me the most incredible opportunity of my career to serve as his judicial law clerk over the application of thousands of other, more qualified applicants. His reason was not my grades, which weren’t the best, or my family’s connections, because I had none. It was because I worked in a shoe store in college and he thought it would help me deal well with litigants. Go figure! Well, who am I to question genius?
I still remember how he jumped off the bench in the middle of a hearing when he heard that I passed the bar. He was more excited than I was. As his children both said, I felt like he was my greatest fan.
Among the countless things I learned from the Judge was, “treat a business like it’s your own, and one day it will be.” This is why I proudly run my own firm with my beautiful wife, Carmen Micklin. Whenever we hire somebody new, I remind her that the Judge always said, “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”
The Wisdom of An Invaluable Mentor
The judge was more than just a great person and an important mentor; he was like a father to me and everyone around him. Loving fathers deserve more credit than they are often given, whether they are fathers by blood or in spirit. Judge Austin’s fatherly advice helped shape me into the attorney I’ve become, and I will be forever grateful for his guidance.
So in his honor, Carmen and I are pleased to announce the creation of the Honorable Eugene H. Austin annual scholarship fund starting 2022. It will be an annual award for single fathers who need help putting their kids through school. We’ll also continue our original need-based scholarship that we give out each semester because, as the Judge also told us, “you get paid for everything you do; you don’t always get paid in dollars and you don’t always get paid today.” We want to pay that wisdom forward.
Rest in Peace, Judge. You won’t be forgotten.