For generations, the men in the Gaba family have practiced either law or medicine, and when it was time for Jeffrey Gaba (JD ’86) to choose an avenue for graduate school, his choice was clear.
“My grandfather was a Supreme Court Justice in the Philippines and my father was a doctor,” said Jeffrey. “I grew up in an Asian family where you had to choose between a doctor and a lawyer. When I got to Emory, I found that I wasn’t really science minded. That definitely drove me to law school, but it was the best decision of my life. “
Like his father, who played tennis at Emory, Nick Gaba (JD ’15), who played soccer at Case Western Reserve University, started his undergraduate career a pre-medical path, but after attending the program’s preschool, chose his to postpone courses on the way before the law.
“When I started taking classes, I realized it could be a good career for me as I was in contact with my father for a lifetime,” said Nick. “In the end, it came down to seeing a role model for my entire life. To be able to follow in his footsteps would be extremely exciting. “
Their paths were only reflected further – both decided to study law in Atlanta in the US state of Georgia.
Jeffrey was part of the second grade graduating from the College of Law while Nick was part of the last class graduating before moving to the new law building in 2015. However, both say that the personal relationships that emerged in law school include their fondest memories of the experience.
“There was a real camaraderie between the professors at the time and us,” said Jeffrey. “We had parties and dinners in their homes. They were very approachable. It was a great experience. I loved it. I had more fun in law school than I did my bachelor’s degree in Emory. “
One advantage Nick had over his father in school was his father’s experience as a lawyer.
“The insight he was able to give was the more realistic impression of what it takes to be successful,” said Nick. “It’s a lot that you’ve put into it. Practice is by no means a nightly transition to success. He reminded me when I went into everything. Law school is just the beginning to finding out if you can succeed. “
After serving as an in-house attorney for one of the largest thrift institutions in Georgia, as an attorney for a government agency, and as a private practitioner, Jeffrey joined the firm of Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers in 2008 and became the practice group head of government. and real estate practice of the company.
Although Jeffrey got to this point with no parent paving the way in the legal community, Jeffrey made sure Nick was making the most of his connections.
“I put him in front of the best lawyers I knew to teach him the trade,” said Jeffrey. “I wish I had. I’ve seen other law students whose fathers were lawyers or judges and it seemed like they had a lot easier. “
Although Jeffrey said he didn’t hesitate to bring Nick into the company, he admitted that there are some challenges, both as a boss and as a father.
“He has to work twice as hard to prove himself,” said Jeffrey. “I don’t think it hurts, but I’ve thought about it. As a dad, it can be difficult to see how he’ll have to jump through the hoops to rise in the company. As his father, I think he deserves it, but it’s also nice that I can be there to help him take this as a lesson in patience. “
Nick has worked directly under Jeffrey since hiring, and despite the occasional father-son challenges, both said the experience only strengthened their relationship.
“It adds a new dynamic to our relationship,” said Nick. “In the course of life, your parents can become very close friends. You learn various life lessons from your father who grew up to be a man. To continue learning from him as a respected bar association and attorney, these legal lessons are invaluable. “
Written by Alex Resnak