I am the 5th generation of the family to grow up in Collinsville. My great grandfather, whom I adored, worked as a coal miner from the age of 14 until his retirement at age 70. He started as a trapper whose job was to open the doors so that the mules pulling the wagons could pass allowing the air to circulate. His father, also a Collinsville coal miner, died from injuries from a collapse. The mining company brought him back from the mine in a horse drawn wagon, laid him down in his front yard, and left. He died from his injuries and there was no workers’ compensation at the time. I learned the values of hard work and determination from my great grandfather.
My father Jack, a Collinsville lawyer, was the first of our family to go to college. Jack played basketball for Collinsville High School then went to the University of Illinois, met and married my mother Adele, and received his bachelor’s degree and law degree. Jack was a prolific and respected lawyer in Collinsville. Countless lawyers and judges who, upon meeting me for the first time, have told me my dad was a great lawyer and wonderful person. I learned from my dad what it meant to be respectful of client’s needs and to deal honestly and fairly with both clients and adversaries.
I grew up in Collinsville and played basketball and tennis for the Kahoks. I went to the University of Illinois and St. Louis University School of law. Out of law school I worked for a downtown St. Louis law firm doing medical malpractice and product liability defense. I later worked for an Edwardsville firm handling cases for injured railroaders before starting Leskera Law Firm in Collinsville.
In line with our transformation from coal miners to lawyers, my son Justin is a law student at St. Louis University who will graduate in 2019 and join the Leskera Law Firm. My son Jordan, a West Point graduate, is an infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division, with plans to attend law school and become a JAG officer.
I am an avid hunter and fisherman having started as a young boy. I hunt squirrels, dove, ducks, geese, deer, and turkey. I field dress, clean, prepare, cook, and eat the wild game I kill and the fish I catch. I have a Labrador retriever named Quinn who enjoys the outdoors as much as I do.
1964 photo of me (child) with my father, grandfather, and great grandfather
1972 My mom Adele (far left) marching in Springfield for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment!
1992 photo with me (as a young father), my son Jordan, my father, and my grandfather.