Get to Know Trent Harris

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by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Thomas “Trent” Harris is an attorney who lives and works in Jackson. In 2018, Harris hung out his own shingle and started Crossroads Legal, PLLC, where he practices consumer bank-
ruptcy, estate planning, and probate law.

The Jackson resident is admitted to the bar in Michigan (2010) and Illinois (2008), and is a 1995 graduate of Jackson High School, Albion College (1999), and Chicago Kent College of Law (2008).
In his leisure, Harris enjoys spending time with his wife Lindsey and her two boys to whom he is a stepdad. He also enjoys gardening, reading, taking care of his two dogs, and playing jazz saxophone when he gets the call for a gig in Lansing, Detroit, or Ann Arbor.

What would surprise people about your job? Filing bankruptcy for consumer clients is like applying for a loan, but it takes a lot more time and effort. Sometimes I tell clients to think of it like applying for a home loan, but with ten times more work.

Why did you become a lawyer? I love reading and writing, and as a lawyer I get to do that for a living. Also, in college I became interested in social justice issues, and I saw law as something that could be used to fight for what’s right on behalf of people who have little or no power.

What’s your favorite law-related book?
A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr.

Who is your law role model?
My real-life role model is Robert Reizner, an elder bankruptcy attorney who has taken me under his wing and imparted to me many gems of bankruptcy wisdom, as well as quite a few corny jokes. Thanks Bob!

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be? Jeff Bezos, but only on payday.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school? I always try to tell people thinking about law school that they should think about what kind of lawyer they would like to be after law school, before deciding to go to law school. Try to find an area of law that ties into your deeply held convictions and interests, so you have that personal meaning to ground you when the inevitable stresses and ethical challenges of practicing law come around.

What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer? My first probate litigation was an action to surcharge a guardian who had neglected his ward, and also converted his ward’s funds and used them to do home improvements on the guardian’s house. I won a judgment on behalf of the ward getting back the money the guardian had been taken from her, and the guardian was removed. The ward was placed with a new guardian who was a family member who treated the ward well and gave her a caring and supportive home. That gave me a taste of what the law can do when things go right.

What other career path might you have chosen? Maybe after I’ve run my course in the legal field, I might like to become an engineer. That was a path not taken after high school, but I’ve always had a bent for math and science.  Or I might just keep playing jazz saxophone.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self? Slow down.

Favorite websites? Google News, MLive’s Jackson page, Fark.com, and Politico.

Favorite app? TuneIn Radio.

Favorite music? You can never go wrong with Miles Davis’s album Kind of Blue.

What is your happiest childhood memory? It would be touring and performing around Europe with the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp International Jazz Band when I was 15. Fifteen is still childhood, right?

What is your most treasured material possession?
A 1959 Selmer Mark VI alto saxophone that I completely lucked into buying for $1,000 when I was 13. It was sold to me by an elderly retired band director who just wanted to make sure someone would play it. It was my main instrument for about ten years, and became a big part of my identity since I was really hardcore about band in middle school and high school. I still play it to this day. Oh, and this one time, at band camp...

What do you wish someone would invent? I wish Apple would invent a Siri voice to text feature that didn’t require wholesale proofreading and corrections after every dictation. First world problems, I know.

What has been your favorite year so far and why? 2019. I married my best friend, and started a whole new chapter in life with her. Life is good.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? Chichen Itza in Mexico. It’s mind boggling what the ancient Maya people built there.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
I’d like to be able to make people laugh, no matter what the situation.

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do? I’d like to learn automotive repair. It’s working with your hands and an old-school mechanical skill, not many people get a chance to do things like that anymore in our digital age.

What is something most people don’t know about you? I went to college to major in music, but ended up graduating with a double major in philosophy and economics.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? My grandfather on my dad’s side, my grandfather on my mother’s side, and my grandmother on my mother’s side of the family, because they all passed away before I was old enough to get to know them.

What’s the best advice you ever received? “Everybody’s got the same number of hours in a day. You always have plenty of time. You’ve got the same amount of time that Einstein had in a day, that Michelangelo had in a day, that Abraham Lincoln had in a day. It’s just what are you going to do with it?” – Charlie Aymond, Jackson attorney, gentleman, and community servant
Favorite place to spend money? Any restaurant. I love dining out, and my taste in food is pretty omnivorous.

What is your motto? There’s no time like the present.

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