Something special happened twenty-five years ago, today. On January 2, 1992, Suzanne Shinn (at that time, she was Suzanne Carlson – more on this later) began work as an attorney with Bond & Botes, P.C. In the quarter century since, she has become a dear friend, confidant, respected advocate, and mentor to many. Suzanne and I have worked together, commiserated together, prayed together, celebrated together, mourned together, and cried together – but more often we have laughed together, and, well, experienced life together.
Suzanne was the very first attorney that Mark Bond and I invited to join our firm. Bond & Botes was only two years old at the time. Before beginning with us, Suzanne worked as a legal secretary and attended law school at night. She was (and is) a hard worker who wasn’t going to let a lack of money stand in the way of a bright future for her and her then infant son, Nathanial. I believe that Suzanne’s experience as a legal secretary, work ethic and strong Christian faith are what have made her such a tremendous advocate for people facing financial challenges. She is truly empathetic for those who come into our office having experienced financial and other setbacks.
Our firm offers a free initial consultation for prospective new clients. This meeting is not intended to be lengthy but to provide us with an opportunity to meet with and provide an initial evaluation of the challenges faced by the individual seeking assistance. From time to time I will notice that Suzanne is spending more time in one of these meetings than contemplated. When I ask our receptionist if there is a problem, the common response is “oh no” and that Suzanne is “ministering” to someone who is hurting. You see Suzanne does not treat what we do as a business. She deems her position as an attorney to be an opportunity, indeed a responsibility, to help those who are in need. In this respect, and many others, she serves as a mentor to all of us at Bond & Botes.
I noted above that Suzanne’s last name when she started with us was Carlson. At one point, shortly after she joined us, she asked me to act as a reference in conjunction with an application she was making for membership in a professional organization. I, of course, agreed to do so but in writing the reference I referred to her as “my good friend and partner Suzanne Carlton” (instead of Carlson). To this date, she has not let me forget that error!
Suzanne’s name changed when she married Richard Shinn. As someone who spends a lot of time with Suzanne, I can say without a doubt that Richard is her soul mate and really don’t know how they ever survived without one another. I am so thankful that God brought him into her life. Richard, Suzanne, and her son Nate (I still call him Nathanial) are simply “good people”. If you are fortunate enough to have one or more of them as a friend, then you are indeed a lucky person.
At Bond & Botes, we feel fortunate to have Suzanne on our team. She is loved and respected by those of us who work with her, our clients, and many others in the legal community. I, personally, don’t know what I would do without her. Thank you, Suzanne, for being my law partner. More importantly, thank you for being my dear friend. Bond and Botes is a better place because of you. People who have been hurting are better because of you. Our community is better because of you. May God bless you and yours now and in the future. I look forward to another twenty-five years as your law partner!
Brad Botes is a principal of each of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He and his team of bankruptcy lawyers have spent over 30 years guiding people through financial challenges. Read his full bio here.