Patrick Geile, 37, sees his bankruptcy work as chance to make a tremendous difference in people’s lives. “This work helps transform a person from feeling like a failure to seeing it as time of new opportunities,” says Geile. “As soon as the burden of their debt lifts, they are transformed, ready to begin again.”
Geile’s idea of what it means to be successful changes as his life unfolds. He says, “To be good at something—to feel like you’re accomplished—you have to believe in what you’re doing.” He has been a partner in the law firm of Foley Freeman for more than seven years. At one time, that would be enough for him to consider himself as a success. But now his idea of success has expanded to include serving his community in significant ways and being a good dad to his two daughters.
As a court-approved child custody mediator, he sees families very different from the “Leave it to Beaver” happy, stable family he grew up in. He says, “The cases usually involve a grandparent who is stepping up to the plate to become the only hope their grandchild has left. And I’m there to be an advocate for the child in a very tough situation.”
And after witnessing so many different situations, Geile maintains hope and recognizes that “you don’t have to be a great person to be a great parent.”
Geile hopes to have a lasting impact by creating initiatives that will help as many people in need as possible. Currently, he is proposing a program that would provide free legal service for minors who need guardians.
From his own two daughters, Geile has learned patience. “As a parent you just have to make time in your life to wait while they tie their shoes. Some things you just can’t rush,” he says. Even though he savors every moment, he thinks about when both girls were in diapers, never sleeping at the same time, and needing constant attention. “After a night of no sleep and then being in court the next day was pretty brutal,” he remembers. “Now it’s easier. And a lot of fun. They’re so honest letting us know exactly what’s on their minds.”
When asked about his favorite fictional lawyer, Giele laughs, “It has to be Matlock. Because solving a case was so easy for him. Every time he was in court the guilty party was already right there. He just had to point at him. It was that easy.”
Most memorable airplane trip: When I was in kindergarten, my grandfather was an airplane mechanic in Nampa. He built his own plane—a small two seater that could be described nothing more than a Volkswagen with wings. One day he took a few of his grandchildren for rides. We had to be pretty light and only one of us could go at time. My grandfather and I took off from his small farm and flew all over the area. I still remember the feeling of my stomach going up and down and that I might float right out of my seat.