When I was 14, I stood up in front of the mayor and Trenton city council to protest paving over the Delaware River Canal. "My friends and I swim in that canal," I shouted. The highway was approved. No more swimming, but I'd had a taste of being an advocate.

My second battle against city hall didn't go any better. I was at Dartmouth College studying an urban project to relocate people living in North Boston. This project uprooted people to make way for high-rise office buildings and concrete highways. I thought it trampled human rights.

Those experiences made me want a career in urban planning. My first step was a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, an opportunity to work on a water resource planning project in Colorado somehow dissolved into a job in the New Jersey governor's office. Disheartened, I joined  my father's and uncle's law practice. What great mentors.

I took any cases I could get -- my first was a prostitute raising a young son with a bad heart. When I started winning big awards we hired more lawyers -- the best we could find. And we trusted them. In  time, Stark & Stark became what it is today, a 114-lawyer firm.

At Stark & Stark, lawyers have the opportunity to excel at what they do, to fail without recrimination, to work in camaraderie. We share the same dream, the same culture.

Now, I'm turning to consulting. I have a good  record of inspiring hundreds of lawyers, including, my daughter Rachel.