I’m Aaron Gwilliam.
I miss the smell of second-hand smoke. Actually, it is a combination of dust, smoke, and grease. To me, it is the smell of work. While growing up my dad worked as a logger and truck driver, just like everyone else in our town. I’ve never met a more humble, kind, and hard-working person in my life. Dad worked 10-12-hour days and would stay in logging camps for long periods of time. My two brothers and I would work on our farm while he was away. We’d miss him, especially when things went wrong.
Logging is consistently rated as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. If you look at my Dad, you can see why. He walks with a significant limp and has scars on his hands and face. You can see missing and replaced teeth when he smiles. All of these come from work injuries.
I live in Salt Lake City now and sometimes feel like I am a million miles from home. I work in an office with a nice chair and custom desk. I wear dress shoes and slacks, not boots and jeans. At times I feel like I’ve betrayed my upbringing. I wonder if I made the right choice because my life feels foreign to me – like I don’t belong. Part of me wishes I was home logging, cutting firewood, bucking limbs from trees, and doing farm work. I miss the humble, salt of the earth folks. Those that work hard every day, rain or shine. It is their blood, sweat, and tears that make the world turn. These are my people and I am one of them.
In the end, I know I made the right decision to become a lawyer. I sue insurance companies on behalf of people that get hurt at work. I’m not a silk-stocking downtown corporate or insurance defense sell-out. I help real people with real problems. I help those that sacrifice their bodies for their boss to get rich. I treat my clients like family and I will match their blood, sweat, and tears with my own before I am done with their case because when I sit down with a client, I see my dad. I remember times when he couldn’t work because he was hurt. I remember neighbors who were killed or lost limbs while at work.
My dad taught me that any job done well and with integrity was something to be proud of.
I am proud of where I come from. I am proud of who I am. And I love helping the Davids of the world slay their oppressing Goliaths.
U.S. District Court District of Utah, 2011
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 2011
Honors and Awards
L. Warden Hanel Memorial Law Scholarship, 2010 – 2011
Professional Associations & Memberships
J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Personal Injury Section Chair
Utah Association for Justice – Workers’ Compensation Chair
Gonzaga University School of Law, Spokane, Washington, J.D.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, B.A.
Major: Business Management
Extraterritorial Effect of States’ Homestead Exemption in the Ninth Circuit, Notes: Eastern District of Washington Bankruptcy, Volume XXII, Number 1, 2011
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