When Kelly Parsons Kwiatek realized during her junior year at Syracuse University that a career in music theater wasn't for her after all, she chose instead to pursue a degree in law.
After all, she had grown up hearing all about the legal profession from her dad, William A. Parsons, a longtime attorney who had become a chief judge two years earlier in 1998.
"I turned to my dad for guidance, and we talked long and hard about law school," recalled Kwiatek, now an attorney, partner and shareholder at the Daytona Beach law firm Cobb Cole. "He explained, and now I can tell you that he was right, that the law gives you a great opportunity to live a multifaceted, interesting life. You meet with interesting people, you study interesting topics, and you solve interesting problems for your clients."
Upon graduating from Syracuse, Kwiatek went on to attend Florida State University Law School, where her father also went, and in 2004, after passing the Florida Bar exam, she joined Cobb Cole as an associate attorney and was promoted seven years later to partner and shareholder.
Her father, meanwhile, continued to serve as a circuit judge until the end of December when he retired from the bench after 17 years of hearing cases in both Volusia and Putnam counties.
Parsons, 68, has returned to practicing as an attorney, joining Cobb Cole as an Of Counsel on Jan. 4.
Kwiatek is a commercial litigator who specializes in employment law, representing business clients.
Parsons and Kwiatek, 36, recently spoke with The News-Journal. Click here for edited excerpts from that interview.