Introducing New Attorney, Jeremiah Ambabo
Greetings! What a year it has been!
I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Jeremiah Ambabo, and I am honored to be a new member of the Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner family!
Joining this team is the culmination of a long-time dream of mine. I am not just new to the firm, but to Fort Myers as well. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and a graduate of the University of New Mexico (Go Lobos!). In high school, I was an avid member of my school’s Speech and Debate team. What started as an attempt to overcome a paralyzing fear of public speaking led to a love for the law and my desire to become an attorney. I entered college knowing I wanted to go to law school, and convinced that was where I would go next. After my first year, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as a reservist so that I could complete my undergraduate education and work toward entering Officer Candidate School and eventually become a Judge Advocate in the military. My experience in the military helped me to grow, and instilled many of the values and beliefs I hold dear to this day. But life doesn’t always move in the way we expect.
Due to an injury, I was unable to proceed with my original plan, and by the time I graduated from UNM I wasn’t sure what my next step would be. I still wanted to be a lawyer, but I wasn’t sure I was ready for the commitment that a law school education requires to be successful. So instead, I chose to enter the workforce after graduation, and build a professional resume while I reassessed my goals. Through a combination of circumstance and connections, I ended up becoming a Probation and Parole Officer with the New Mexico Corrections Department. What I expected to be a temporary job became a twelve-year career. I truly enjoyed the work I did, having the opportunity to supervise and work with offenders in the hope of helping them to transition back into society as law-abiding, productive members of the community. It was not always easy, but I gained incredible insight into the criminal justice system, and through my work had the opportunity to work with some incredible attorneys for both the prosecution and defense. I moved from Officer to Supervisor of my own unit, and eventually became the Training Coordinator for Probation and Parole statewide. But I never lost my love of the law and working with attorneys regularly only reminded me how much I still wanted to become an attorney myself.
As intimidating as it was, I chose after eleven years with the NMCD to finally pursue my goal, and began the process of applying to law schools. I accepted a full scholarship and enrolled at California Western School of Law in San Diego, California in 2013. After 35 years in New Mexico, I packed up my belongings and my dog and moved to a new home to begin my legal education. The transition was difficult—I spent a good deal of my first year worried that I wouldn’t be able to succeed and remain in school having been away from academic life for so long. Happily, though, I found out that the move was the right one. In law school, I finally felt “at home.” The more I learned and experienced in law school, the more I knew that working as an attorney was the work I would enjoy as a true career. I became involved with California Western’s award-winning Appellate Competition Team, and was involved with student organizations that fueled my passion for social justice.
In my final year at California Western, I began looking toward my post-graduation plans. As much as I loved living in California, I knew that I wanted to pursue a legal career in Florida. A friend put me in touch with Mr. Scheiner, and through the school’s Clinical Internship program, I was able to arrange to complete my final semester of law school here in Fort Myers working as an intern for credit at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner. I moved to Southwest Florida in August of 2015 and completed my studies while having the incredible opportunity to work with and learn from Mr. Scheiner and PJ as I prepared to graduate. The “on-the-job” experience I received working with the team here was singular, and I could not have dreamed of better. Being offered a position with the firm after graduating was amazing, and better than I could have hoped. I was able to begin studying for the Florida Bar Examination immediately after completing law school in December. After two months of intense study (and more than a little pressure!), I sat for the exam in February of this year before returning to work with the firm as a Graduate Clerk. I was very relieved to find out in April that I passed the exam and would be admitted to the Florida Bar. Even more exciting though was accepting a position as an attorney with Associates & Bruce L. Scheiner once I was admitted!
I have already learned so much more than I could have expected working with Mr. Scheiner, PJ, and the phenomenal attorneys and staff at the firm. I consider it a great personal honor to be able to join the team in this capacity. When I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer because I thought I liked to argue. As I have since realized, though, my desire to become an attorney was the desire to be a voice for people who might otherwise have none. There is no greater feeling than being able to support, assist, and seek justice for a client who has been harmed. Being able to do that as a member of this firm is humbling and very exciting. I look forward to learning, growing, and being able to provide the best possible service to our clients. I am honored to have finally met my goal, and I look forward to meeting our clients and doing my very best to serve you!