Stan Perkins – Chapter 4 Charles Dunn

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Blog

My simple, humble, some might say unprofessional, first office in my studio apartment in the Biltmore apartments on Capital Hill was a start. Friends referred me clients. Some I actually met in my apartment/office. I am forever grateful for those brave souls who came to that apartment and trusted me with their divorces, bankruptcies, and criminal defense matters. What must they have been thinking? That’s right, I was taking different types of cases, some of which I had very little experience. I was always very open with my first clients about my experience level. Most of them appreciated my candor and hired me. A few did not. I completely understood when a potential client sat down on my hand-me-down chairs in my musty studio and bared their soul to me and then heard me say something like, “I haven’t handled a case quite like that, but I promise I will work harder than the attorney on the other side.” And they decided to hire another lawyer. It was a scary, exciting start to my legal career. The cliché, “Fake it ‘til you make it” comes to mind, but I wasn’t faking it and I wasn’t making it.

At the same time, I was working as a waiter/server at the Red Robin across the street from my apartment six nights a week, and I was starting to get regular work from my modeling agency, whose office was two blocks from my apartment. Everything was very convenient. That helped because I didn’t have a car, but I was making a living (barely) and having a lot of fun.

I think I had 6-10 cases going at a time then and I was really feeling like an attorney until I had to put on my red bowtie and my blue apron and go to work at Red Robin! Don’t get me wrong., I met a lot of wonderful friends at the Red Robin and I got most of my early legal referrals from there.

That reminds me of one of my most embarrassing memories waiting tables. It was a night like any night when four of my law school buddies sat in my section dressed like attorneys, looking successful, and then there I was taking their drink order. “Stan, what the hell are you doing working here?”, one of my law school classmates asked. “Hey guys, I’m doing great. This is my side hustle. I opened my own practice a few months ago and my office is my apartment across the street. If you guys have any referrals you can send my way, that would be great! Now what can I get you guys?” Talk about embarrassing. The guys were cool and we had some good laughs but it was clear to me that I had taken a dramatic change in direction from my buddies who had gone big law and I must admit I went home that night wondering if I had made a big mistake.

Serendipity (again) entered my life and as it had in the past it was a game changer. Things were moving along for me. I had some early victories in court, I had some cool modeling and acting opportunities come my way and I was meeting some really nice folk at the Red Robin who frequently sat in “Stan’s section”, and we had a blast. It didn’t seem like work, it was more like the Cheers’ Bar only at Red Robin!

One of my favorite regulars was a distinguished, charming man named Charles Dunn. Charlies lived in the neighborhood and he would regularly sit in my section with his best friend Paul, his sister, Patsy, and his niece, Tricia. They were delightfully wonderful folks who became my best friends.

It turns out that Charles owned and operated a travel agency and a travel school for travel agents just a few blocks from my “home office”. One day I had a modeling job at Flaming Geyser State Park in Auburn for REI. I don’t even know how I got chosen, but when I arrived, I saw Charles and Paul get out of their car and I said, “What are you two doing down here in Auburn?” Charles was not the outdoorsy hiker type of guy. He said, “I am here for an REI modeling shoot”. “So am I”. We laughed, and I remember thinking that the swift hand of fate was bringing us closer.

We did the shoot and I ran home to go to work at the Red Robin, and of course, Charles and his family sat in my section and we laughed at the small world experience that we just had. One thing led to another, and Charles told me that he had an extra office at his travel agency and he offered it for me for my budding law practice. He said the receptionist could even answer my phone and grow my now clients. The Law Office of Dean Standish Perkins was legit! I made it October 1, 1986.

My Special Perkins Family! I love you all... - Charles


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