Michael Jordan — A Personal Perspective
An attorney committed to helping those in need
Growing up, Michael Jordan wanted to be either a preacher or a lawyer.
"It may seem strange, but both give you the opportunity to help people and to learn new things all the time," Michael said. "I love learning and the challenge of mastering new things. The opportunity to help people is what I was raised to do. Law allows me to scratch both those itches, so to speak."
He remains committed to his Christian faith today and believes his work helping injury victims is a ministry in itself.
Michael, whose family has lived in North Carolina for generations, majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shortly after the basketball star Michael Jordan left UNC for the NBA. After college, Michael attended the North Carolina Central University School of Law at night while working at IBM during the day.
An accident that served as a blessing in disguise
After managing his own general practice law firm for about eight years, he severely injured his right eye in a freak accident. Michael had to wear eye patches over both eyes for a while and wasn't able to read for a number of months.
As a result, he couldn't work, closed his practice, and lost all of his savings. He would have had to declare bankruptcy if not for the help and support of his family, but he kept the firm open long enough for the staff to find other jobs in order to make sure no one else would have to suffer during the transition.
Though "frustrated and depressed" at the time, he now considers it a blessing in disguise because this difficult experience guided him into personal injury law.
"It gave me a great appreciation for what people go through with an injury. I knew what it was like not being able to function and how frustrating that can be," he said. “Moreover, I also feel blessed because I am better able to really understand the struggles our clients face when dealing with significant injuries because I’ve been in their shoes.”
In addition to his legal work at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, Michael has served on the Advisory Board for the North Carolina Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and has been very visible in statewide leadership positions with the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. He also actively serves at the Summit Church, which has multiple campuses.
Inspired by his parents
Michael attributes much of his success to his parents.
"They really worked hard to teach my brother and me that our lives were not just about us," he said. "They were actively engaged in church and made sure we kept the right focus. They also stressed the value of learning."
When Michael misbehaved, he was not spanked, yelled at, or put in "time out." Rather he had to reason with his father about the motive and heart behind what he had done. "This made me very analytical and self-reflective," Michael said.
Like the famous Tar Heel basketball player that shares his name, Michael is very competitive — but this MJ competes mostly with himself.
"I always enjoy the opportunity to make a difference and the challenges presented by problems that have to be solved," he said. "In addition, I love to learn. Every day I come in and try to erase what I did the day before and beat it the next day. I have to earn the right to have a job every day. It's a fun and engaging challenge."
Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife (whom he married the week after he took the NC Bar Exam in 1993) and their two children. He also enjoys playing with his dogs, cheering for UNC sports, mountain biking, riding his motorcycle, hiking, playing guitar, reading, and writing.