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“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
Have you ever found yourself in a place or at an event where you are definitely the outlier; the one many would pick if asked which of these don’t belong? Jim Edwards, 73, lives this everyday as he attends classes at Nashville School of Law.
He sits in the front row of his classes so he can be close enough to hear, but don’t let his age fool you- he still is quite an active participant and answers questions in-class.
So how did a 73-year old man find himself pursuing a law degree?
Edwards actually last attended college at Mercer University in 1959, but due to his performance, the college sent him a letter which informed him he didn’t need to return. This didn’t stop him from having a successful career over the next 50 years.
In 1989, he started his own company, in Hendersonville called Bailey Special Risks. He brokered insurance deals that covered businesses facing workplace claims, such as sexual harassment and discrimination. Over time he saw a lot of legitimate complaints, which were for the most part “he said, she said” claims, get dismissed by insurers.
It would be during his time serving on the Henderson planning commission where he met his now mentor, Nancy Krider Corley. Corley and Edwards would always argue, but never in a hostile way. It was during these arguments when Corley would encourage Edwards where the spark which ignited the journey to pursue a law degree was made.
In 2009, Edwards sold his business and was looking for something else; something more.
"My real interest was stimulated by people that I had seen in various walks of life that had legal predicaments," he said. "I felt like they had good cases.”
So the journey began at Volunteer State Community College where he took some of his general education courses before transferring to Middle Tennessee State where he earned a degree in Political Science. Edwards is currently in his third year of four at Nashville School of Law.
He is thanks for many things, Conley (a Nashville S.O.L grad & mentor) among them. He and his mentor still a couple times a week and discuss cases.
"He'll ask me questions and I'll tell him where to go, what the answer is, and why he's wrong," Conley said.
If there is one thing that Edwards unique story supports, it's George Eliot’s statement that: it’s never too late to be what you might have been.