For many law students, their professors become an integral part of their legal education. For practicing personal injury attorney Richard Guerrero ’75, Professor John Murphy was the key to getting him to look at UC Law.
According to Guerrero, many years ago Professor Murphy encouraged him to apply to UC Law at a Council on Legal Education (CLEO) Summer School pre-law program he attended at the University of Kentucky. “I owe him a great deal for his encouragement,” Guerrero said. “He is a distinguished professor and a great person.” Professor Murphy turned out to offer more than encouragement to Guerrero; he became one of his favorite professors and influenced him greatly.
Roller Coaster Life Experiences
Following Murphy’s advice, Guerrero applied to the law school after obtaining his political science degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Before coming to the law school he had also served in the United States Army for two years and worked as a sales representative for Clairol for a year. He matriculated in 1972. Two years later he married his wife Barbara, also a UC graduate. Today, the couple has two children and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. There, Guerrero practices personal injury law and occasionally criminal law.
Looking At Criminal Law from Both Sides
Although Guerrero currently practices in the area of personal injury, his first job following graduation was a part-time position as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Marion, Indiana. He spent four years working with the County Prosecutor’s Office where he was sworn in as an attorney and tried his first felony case. Following his work with the Prosecutor’s Office, Guerrero shifted gears and became a part-time County Public Defender for four years where he tried numerous felony cases including one much publicized murder trial. He attributes his success in the legal field to “hard work and being aggressive.” One of the most important lessons Guerrero has learned over the years is something he was told in law school. “For a client,” he explained, “principle is an expensive word.”
Keeping It All In The Family
Guerrero was the youngest of nine children, three of whom are practicing attorneys. In fact, a love of the law is evident across his family. In addition to two brothers, the legal tradition has touched five of Guerrero’s nieces and nephews, as well as one of his sons, Kevin, who is also a UC Law graduate (2004) and a practicing attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC.
Work Hard, Play Harder
With a hidden talent for “organizing,” Guerrero organized intramural teams of flag football, softball, and basketball during his law school days. “We had a very competitive and talented basketball team,” he said. He was also responsible for organizing a law school golf tournament, well-remembered since former Ohio Governor Bob Taft, '76, won—two years in a row. In his free time these days Guerrero enjoys playing golf, working in his yard, and doing maintenance around his home and office. He and his wife also enjoy traveling.
Author: Mandy Shoemaker, '09