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My Interview with Attorney Stuart “Stu” Baggerly about law careers

1.   (Clark)   If not law, what was your original intended major / career path?

(Stu)  I hadn’t really decided.  I had worked in construction and on the rail road as a spiker (No kidding, swinging a hammer all day).  I was always good with fixing motors and building things.  In college I’d worked driving a taxi and eventually got into driving for campus bus.  I did that around five or six years and got into the charter end of it where I’d drive old converted greyhound buses painted in I.U. colors all over the place.  I really enjoyed that as there was virtually no supervision, I got to meet all kinds of interesting people, and I was driving all over the country as well as all over campus and Indiana with the various teams and marching bands and student groups, etc.  I was living with a woman who I was helping put through law school with the bus money and I wasn’t really too thrilled with the law students I met.  They all seemed like arrogant rich kids that had never had a job (and most of them were!)  My undergrad work had been in sociology with a psychology minor.  I’d always been good at getting along with people, which I think came from moving around a lot while growing up.  I got into sociology since it dealt with how people interact with each other on various levels.  My frustration with sociology was that it was all about figuring out what was wrong with society, but then not really doing anything about it.  (Just my opinion, granted)  So getting into law kind of combined my skills of figuring things out and fixing them with my interest in people and how they get along.  A final nudge that got me to go and apply for law school stemmed from a couple frat boys (I NEVER volunteered for the B route which does North Jordan, but the dispatcher was stuck and I’m a nice guy) that were running their mouths on the bus.  They were in some debate (they were the only two on there) about something and one was dead wrong.  During a lull I mentioned that the one guy was right as I’d just read something about the topic (I can’t believe I don’t remember what it was about) and it was pretty fresh in my mind.  “There, see?” the guy that was right said.  “Oh great, we’re supposed to believe a bus driver?”, say’s the other.  Screw you guys, thought, I.  So I parked the bus in front of the law school and went in and got an application.  When I got back the two guys were gone, but my supervisor was there.  He didn’t like frat boys, either, so I didn’t get in trouble.  My mom wasn’t surprised I became a lawyer.  She’d always told me I was a smart a**, so I’d better find a way to make a living at it.

2.    (Clark)  What is your favorite part of the job?

(Stu)  Getting to help people out.  I’ve always been one to stop and move turtles out of the road or feed stray dogs.  On any given day anyone runs into situations where folks think “someone ought to do something”.  But for some reason they never make the connection: “Hey, I’M someone!  Guess I ought to do something!”  People in trouble with the law are usually scared to death.  It usually just takes a few minutes to answer a few questions and you take the fear away.

3.    (Clark)  What is your least favorite part of the job?

(Stu)  The politics and the paperwork, in that order.  People lose track of the notion that everyone that works here in county is up against the same mountain of crap.  The problem is that some people move into positions where they feel they’re kind of floating above it all, with “all” being the rest of us that know we’re stuck and have to do the work.  If we have a mass of humanity in court on a given day we usually all work to sort it out.  “We” including the folks at front door security, the folks in court services, the bailiffs, the jail staff, the court reporters, the prosecutors and defense people, even the maintenance people.  We’re all in the same boat and no one gets out until we all get done with whatever we’re doing.  All well and good.  Then you throw in someone(s) that figure everyone else needs to re-organize whatever they’re doing because THEY have things to do or because it make things more convenient for THEM.  These tend to be elected officials or department heads or county counsel people or judges or the like.  Yeah, they’re important, but we’re all eating out of the same trough.  A built in problem with any county government and most jobs in general is that there is a lack of communication between the “Higher ups” (Them) and the “Grunts” (Us).  People need these jobs, so they’re afraid to voice a concern when someone loses sight of our common goal and starts being political.  That, I don’t like.  (I would note as an aside that a few of us have been here long enough that we don’t give a squat who we tell what… but that’s another story)  Oh, and paperwork.  Not much to say.  I hate it.  It’s time consuming and wastes a lot of trees.

4.   (Clark)  Who is/was your biggest influence?

(Stu)  My dad.  He’s really cool, and still around.  He always kept his head and taught me to do the same (when possible).  He taught me a lot about people and how not to get a fat head.  He started on the rail road shoveling coal into boilers on a short rail lone between Mt. Carmel and Paris, Illinois.  He worked hard and eventually rose through management.  Every time he’d take a promotion we’d have to move which is why I’ve lived all over the north east and mid west.  When he retired he’d worked his way up to vice president of the Long Island Rail Road.  He still knew the names of all the guys that worked in the snack bar and carried the luggage when he left that job.  He never came off like he thought he was better than anyone.

5.    (Clark)  What was the hardest part of law school or your education in general?

(Stu)  Paying for it!  Dad ended up a rail road vice president but that was WAY after my college days.  There were four kids growing up in our family and we always drove used cars and had to stretch to make ends meet.  When us kids were little we always thought we had it pretty good, and I guess we did.  My folks were able to help with my first semester of under grad but after that I was on my own.  I always had at least one job and sometimes two so I was able to keep from taking out the max on student loans.  Even still I was paying them off for years.  And math.  I can’t do math to save my life.  I almost flunked out of under grad because I couldn’t do math beyond the basics.  That led to trouble when I had to take tax law in law school.  I can barely balance a check book, let alone decipher the federal tax code.

6.    (Clark)  What job duty takes most of your time?

(Stu)  Being in court.  There’s a LOT of court time in being a public defender.  Fortunately, I like being in court.  Coming in at a close second is the paperwork (which, again, I can’t stand!)

7.    (Clark)  Have you considered running for political offices (judge, prosecutor, etc)?

(Stu)  I’ve been asked any number of times why I don’t run for something.  It gets back to a basic distaste for politics.  I’ve considered it from time to time, but I just can’t see myself getting into that line of work.  I guess it could boil down to my underlying belief that no one is intrinsically better than anyone else.  To get elected, you have to present yourself as somehow better than the “other guy”.  No big trick for politicians, but now how I do business.

8.   (Clark)   If you could change your career in the blink of an eye, would you? If so, what would it be? Why?

(Stu)  I could see myself as an author.  I always end up doing my job sort of as a story teller anyway, and I think I’m halfway good at it.  If I were an author I could travel around more (which I enjoy) and do my job while still getting paid.  I could also see going into stand up comedy.  I’ve been asked before why I don’t try that, and my typical response is that I’m already doing stand up comedy, all day, every day.

9.     (Clark) How much time do you spend at work or doing work-related duties?

(Stu) The job description says “35 hours per week”.  HAH!  We’ve usually got that in some time Thursday.  It’s probably closer to 50 per week by the time you factor in all the time we spend reading police reports, looking stuff up, calming down family and parents regarding people in trouble, etc. etc.  Not to mention the time you might spend at Wal-mart or Kroger at any hour of the day or night when people yell your name across the store and want to know if they can “ask just a couple quick questions”.  I’ve actually had people stop me on the corner to ask “just a couple quick questions” and then had a little line form of clients that saw me on the street talking to someone.  GEEZ!

10.   (Stu)   Personally, I hate it when a boss is breathing down my neck, wanting to know if something is done, or why I did this that way, etc. Do you get away from that at all in law?

(Clark) Depends on where you’re practicing.  In a typical law firm there’s a lot of that micro-management stuff.  You have to account for all your hours and they work you like a rented mule.  There’s usually strict procedural guidelines on how you do things and you get canned if you don’t comply.  They’re all up in your business about dress codes and billable hours.  On the other hand, if you’re a private attorney in your own office its up to you how you handle things and you answer only to your clients and the State Bar Association.  As public defenders (at least here) we’re sort of rogue attorneys.  We all have various work styles as far as how we approach things.  So long as we’re accountable on how our cases are handled and the head defender isn’t getting a lot of complaints about us we’re free to handle things how we want.  Obviously, if we’re getting sloppy in court and cases are not getting handled our boss will hear about it.  Fortunately, that hasn’t happened as far as I can recall.

11.     (Clark) Of all the specialties you can practice in law, which is your preference? Why? (criminal law, corporate, tort, etc)

(Stu)  I’m pretty happy with doing criminal law.  I was a deputy prosecuting attorney for six years (three in Morgan, three in Owen)  I did a brief stint with an injury firm (which sucked out loud*) and then got back into criminal law, only this time on the defense side.  This gets back to my frustration with sociology.  In criminal defense we have to figure out what a person’s problems are, and then actually try to fix them to the extent we can.  We have to know the law, and know the players in the court room.  It’s fast paced and, despite some things that are routine, is always interesting.  The drama that unfolds every day in court is like walking into a television show on a daily basis.  Well, not really.  Court on t.v. isn’t really like court, but that’s another story.  On a given day I’ll be talking to people accused of everything from public intoxication to murder.  Every client needs to feel like their case is THE case you’re working on, regardless of the nature of the offense.  I think I pull that off pretty well.  The thing to remember is that every single file your pick up has someone’s a** in it, and they want it out of there!
*The injury firm gig was just miserable.  I was recruited from my prosecutor job based on my reputation as being good in court and a winner at trial.  Every file in that office was like a Jerry Springer episode.  You’ve never heard such whining and griping by people that, for the most part, weren’t hurt at all.  I made a lot more money doing that but knew I had to get out when it got to where I just couldn’t care less how a case turned out.

12.    (Clark) What should a law student do if they want to maximize their income post-graduation? Where should they work? What should their focus be? Show me the money.

(Stu) Make sure to be in the upper percentage of class ranking and then go corporate.  Not for me, but there’s the money.  Used to be going into injury work got you the big bucks but that era is fading as insurance companies get more savvy about defending cases.  Young lawyers willing to live in the larger urban markets, put in horrendous hours (like 70 to 80 per week), be absolutely cut-throat as far as competing with the other young lawyers in the firm, and be ruthless in court, move right up the letterhead and make partner in around three years.  At that point you’re into six-figure salaries with a percentage of the firm’s profits coming as a bonus each month.

13.    (Clark)  What one piece of advice would you give to a law student regarding academics?

(Stu) Be sure to figure out what aspect of a given course the professor considers the most important and be ready to respond with answers recognizing that focus.  That’s what they call “thinking like a lawyer”.  The nature of law school is to give you grounding in how the law works, not so much a bunch of specific facts and figures.  You’re learning a skill set.  You need to know the facts and law for a given case on a given day, but that’s just to get you background in how to “think like a lawyer”.  (You’ll hear that phrase about a million times if you go to law school)  You need to know the general issues in a given area of law, and then the specific case by case stuff you usually are looking up when things occur.

14.    (Clark)  What one piece of advice would you give to a law student in general? (study hard, don’t go out in the rain without an umbrella, eat your Wheaties – anything)

(Stu) LIGHTEN UP!  Geez, those guys take themselves WAY too serious.  There’s a type of law student the others call a “gunner”.  They’ve always got their hands up first for every question, they write for the Law Journal, they spend every waking hour in the library (if they’re not in class).  They form really serious study groups and generally have no fun.  Of course, that’s probably good training since they’ll probably be going into one of those ulcer factory corporate law jobs.  The group of people I hung around with kept a cooler full of beer out on the roof of the law school.  We had to take a little stop screw out of one of the windows so we could open it far enough to get out there.  We’d go out there every evening when the weather allowed and sit on the edge of the building looking out over Bloomington and yak about ANYTHING but law school.  We all got out of there and employed with no ulcers amongst us.  At the two day bar exam where you try to get your license there were people passing out and puking in the bathroom stalls.  I mean, it’s just a job fer pity sakes!

15.    (Clark)  Do you do private practice on the side?

(Stu) Yeah.  I don’t advertise, though.  I get a good number of clients and they’re all referrals from people I’ve helped before or other lawyers.  I don’t charge as much as most people do and my clients almost always go away happy with the results we were able to achieve.  I have business cards (which I make on the printer) that say across the top:  Solution Oriented Criminal Defense.  I recognize that people don’t want drama, they want out of the court system.  That’s what I do for my public defender clients and that’s what I do for my private clients.  There’s also a quote on there from a guy named Gaddis.  It says:  “Justice?  You get justice in the next world.  In this world, you have the law”  That refers to the difference between “justice”, which is when everyone does the right thing because it’s the right thing, and the law, where lawyers beat up on people that don’t know the law.  I know the law so my clients don’t have to.

(Clark)   Thank you, Stu! I appreciate your time.

(Stu)  No problem, John.  Sorry for the lengthy (answers).  Hope this helps.


(Clark) Thank you for accepting this interview. I am very honored to be speaking with a person that is so knowledgable on this subject!! Some questions may be considered personal in nature. PLEASE feel free to decline to answer any questions you may not feel comfortable with answering. The purpose of this article is not to criticize or belittle any person, occupation, belief, religion, or theory.”

1. (Clark) When was it that you first realized you had power or abilities that most don’t possess? What happened?

(Barb) I don’t like the word “power”.  It really isn’t a power, just an ability, just like you have the ability to raise your right arm or blink… 🙂  And I believe most DO possess it but forget their abilities around the age of 5 or 6, so, it just lays dormant until one wishes to use it.  It’s always there.

2. (Clark) While communicating with the ‘other side’, do you ever feel threatened or scared?

(Barb) Never.  🙂  Remember the Universal Law of Vibration, like attracts like.  I do my best to be as ethical as possible and to conduct readings for the highest good of all involved, so there never is anything scary energy-wise that would come back at me.  Plus, crossed over folks are pretty cool; they are not earthbounds or ghosts who can be full of ego still, so there is a difference there.

3. (Clark) What is your drive behind providing the services you provide? Why do you do what you do?

(Barb) I love to see a client’s face light up when they recognize a spirit energy, or are receiving the essence again of the person they loved so much here in a physical form.  I also love to give the other side a telephone, if you will, to be able to let those here know they are ok there.

4. (Clark) Are there bad or evil spirits? If so, can they hurt us?

(Barb) I don’t believe in evil, but negative, yes.  There are so many levels of these beings, so you really can’t pinpoint it exactly.  Negative or stagnant-wise, we mostly encounter the earthbounds/ghosts, or the ones who have decided for whatever reason not to cross over.  It’s not that these guys are “evil” or “negative” (some may be close…), just a thicker, more physical energy than crossed over folks.  Sometimes they can push things which may hurt us  because they’re a thicker energy, but I don’t believe they can do a lot of damage.  🙂  We just need to be careful and respectful in their area.  I’ve seen small instances, personally, of little jabs and things, but we always have to remember to remain calm around them, as fear can pump up their energy.  I also feel like if there is a spirit who wants to cause trouble, and they see we aren’t bothered, they get bored and move on.  🙂

5. (Clark) Who is or was the biggest influence in your life?

(Barb) In regard to mediumship?  Probably James Van Praagh, John Holland and John Edward.

6. (Clark) If you were talking to your children about spiritualism, what three things would you find it most important to emphasize to them?

(Barb) My kids are well aware of spirit energy, not so much spiritualism, as that’s more a religion/belief.  They see and hear spirit people pretty easily, so I try to stress to them that they won’t be hurt, to not be afraid, that’s it’s very normal to be aware of other energy besides what we can see and touch, and that we just have to tune it out when we don’t want to be bothered.

7. (Clark) What religion do you consider yourself to be? Do you believe in God? Jesus Christ?

(Barb) I am not religious, but very spiritual.  I do believe in an infinite energy we call God, and I do believe there was a man who once lived on earth, named Jesus Christ who was an amazing teacher, healer, and prophet, among many other wonderful things.

8. (Clark) How long have you been practicing in the spirit medium field?

(Barb) About 11 years, give or take.

9. (Clark) In your career, name one experience that has caused you to feel that the services you provide are worth while? What happened?

(Barb) Oh, there are truly so many, I can’t pinpoint one time.  I do remember when I was first starting out… I was practicing with a lady who made me a piece of jewelry. I held the jewelry she created, that she touched and worked with using her hands, and suddenly I became very aware of this man who had passed.  I described him and gave the message he said to give, and she started to cry with happiness to hear from this gentleman again.  She understood everything so well, and I was amazed at the process and the amount of joy it brought me as well.  I knew I was on the right path.  🙂

10. (Clark) If you believe in Heaven, where is Heaven?

(Barb) I don’t believe Heaven is ONE place, so much, but a level.  I believe that we are pulled to the level there that we were most like here.  I mean that if we are good people and do the best we can, once we cross over, we are pulled to a similar level where we will still learn, evaluate what we’ve done (good and not so good) and then ascend, learn more, etc.  I do believe that a true Heaven comes after many lifetimes of learning, and also in how you ascend on the other side.  The more we ascend there, or the more we strip these physical/ego layers, the closer to “Heaven” we are.

11. (Clark) Have your powers allowed you to prevent something bad from happening? What happened?

(Barb) “Abilities”, and no, that would take away one’s free will here.  I’ve had many prophetic dreams, but there’s never really anything I can truly do about it.  Well, except for the case where I dreamt that my diamond was lose in my engagement ring, so I brought it to the jewelers the next day, where he told me it was about to fall out!  So, yep, that did prevent a bad thing from happening, heh.  :).  But for bigger things(!), if I have dreams or visions, I think it’s more to get me prepared, that kind of thing.

15. (Clark) If a young person came to you and told you that they believe they have some similar spiritual gifts as you possess, what would your advice be to them?

(Barb) Well, if it was ok with their parents, I would say to take it slow, not be afraid and work with their spirit guide in meditation on a daily basis to get control of the gift.  Also, to get to know others like them, so they wouldn’t feel so out of place.  It would really depend on what the scenario is with the young person.

16. (Clark) How does your family feel about what you do? Are they supportive? Are they invloved with your occupation?

(Barb) My husband is very supportive, but no, he is not involved.  Other family members are supportive as well, but not involved.

17. (Clark) What is the most important thing to remember when a loved one passes?

(Barb) That they can hear and see us and don’t want us to carry any kind of guilt or remorse about anything we feel we did or didn’t do enough of for them, etc.  That we can still have a relationship with them, but just in a different way, i.e., as a physical being and a spirit being rather than two physical people here on the earth plane.  That they can hear us when we talk to them in our head or out loud, and, that we don’t die, energy doesn’t die, it just transforms into a different form.

18. (Clark) When a person passes, what is the process? Do they automatically go to Heaven or Hell? Where do they go?

(Barb) It depends entirely on their own free will.  When the physical body dies, we shed it, and move into an “etheric body” or body double.  This is how we see many earthbounds/ghosts who choose not to cross over – they get “stuck” in this body by their own choice.  This is the thickest body next to the physical, which is why ghosts can do more to get our attention (and we can see them more strongly) than a crossed over spirit person.  IF we choose to cross over, we then shed that etheric body/body double and move into an astral body for a time.  This, so we can evaluate and review what good and not so good we’ve done here, how we can do better next time, what we could have done, how well we did with this or that, etc.  After a period of time, if we choose, we can shed that layer, as well, and step into more celestial bodies, and so on.

19. (Clark) After passing, is the spirit of a person guided by another spirit, by an angel, or some other spiritual being to their next destination?

(Barb) I believe so, yes, especially in traumatic situations where a person passes suddenly and may be a bit confused at first about what has happened to them. Sometimes they are met by crossed over loved ones, sometimes by spirit guides of the person, sometimes angels.  It depends on each soul.  Many people who are terminally ill, will see their crossed over loved ones in their hospital room, etc.  I believe we are kind of half here and half there in these kind of situations, and know who we’ll be met by.

20. (Clark) Recently, I have researched extraterrestrial life in relation to the spiritual afterlife. What is your standpoint on this? Do you believe that there is extraterrestrial life? If so, do they have anything to do with the afterlife?

(Barb) I do believe in extraterrestrial life, but it’s not my forte.

21. (Clark) Is there a message you would like to communicate to the public about spirit mediums, the spiritual afterlife, or your occupation in general?

(Barb) Yep.  🙂  There are MANY charlatans out there, so be selective when getting a reading.  Be sure to always be an “open skeptic” but not a cynic.  Believe it or not, I’m more skeptical when I get a once a year reading done, because I know exactly what should be happening in a reading.  🙂  Mostly, it’s best to be referred to a certain medium by someone who has had a good reading/experience.  Also, be sure the medium is presenting the info in a statement form, not question form.  And, it’s great if you come to a reading prepared.  Know how to answer and how NOT to answer (don’t give voluntary info, just yes/no), know a lot about your family history so you can validate info that comes in during the reading, rather than having to go home to figure it out, which is great too, the “after reading validations”, and be open to anyone coming through and what they have to say, not just who you wish to hear from.  It’s best to leave expectations at the door.

22. (Clark) How should a person that is need of your services contact you?

(Barb) They can contact me via my website at

23. (Clark) Do you travel for your occupation, or do you just serve the area you are located in?

(Barb) I do travel sometimes, and also conduct phone readings for those who can’t travel to see me, as well.

24. (Clark) If you do not travel, who should someone in Indiana that is in need of services similar to the ones you provide contact?

(Barb) Again, I do conduct phone readings (which work in exactly the same manner as in person), but I do not know of anyone in IN I can refer.  I normally only refer those who I’ve had a reading from personally.

25. (Clark) Are any of the services you provide able to be provided by telephone, email, or any other type of communication?

(Barb) Telephone, yes.

26. (Clark) What type of people have you seen in the course of your occupation? Is there a fairly diverse set of consumers? Have you ever helped any prominent figures (judges, lawyers, politicians, actors, etc.)?

(Barb) All readings are kept confidential, but normally, I don’t know who it is I’ll be reading anyway.  I’ll have a name, but I never know if it’s the person’s real name or not, so I have no idea.  🙂

27. (Clark) How is a medium session held? What is the process, etc?

(Barb) In person, I’ll sit and ask to hold my clients watch or ring, etc. to tune into their energy a bit, and then I’ll start with an opening of my intentions, and start to become aware of an energy in the room.  From there, I’ll collect as much evidence as I can from the spirit person, and when my client understands who it is I’m linking to, I’ll ask for any messages or “why they are here”.  Phone readings work the same way, except I don’t hold a belonging of the clients, I just tune into their voice.

28. (Clark) Are the happenings in a medium session normally kept confidential?

(Barb) Always, unless I feel that a client is in danger of hurting themselves or another.

29. (Clark) What other services do you offer?

(Barb) I will do walk-thru’s of homes if there is activity, to try to identify the energy(ies) and help them cross over, if they choose.  Also, I conduct workshops in my Northern VA office.

30. (Clark) Which of these services are the most requested?

(Barb) I mainly conduct individual readings and workshops.

Published on July 7, 2008 at 4:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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