tampabay.com

His thrills come from helping others

By DEMORRIS A. LEE
Published May 20, 2007


Gregory K. Showers never planned to be an attorney, much less the newest president of the Clearwater Bar Association.

After graduating from Morehouse College in 1988 with a degree in computer science, Showers, 41, headed to Detroit where he worked as a systems engineer. Finding corporate America stifling, he headed back to his native Florida and enrolled at Stetson College of Law.

The move would prove decisive. Since earning his law degree in 1993, Showers has worked his way up to partner at the only law firm he's ever worked for. At Kwall, Showers, Coleman & Barack, PA, Showers practices criminal and personal injury law. He and his wife, Denotra, have three young daughters.

Earlier this month, he became the first African-American president of the Clearwater Bar Association, a 600-member group in existence for more than 70 years.

 

Why did you become an attorney?

I really get a thrill out of basically helping people. A lot of people ask me, 'But are helping to put a criminal back on the streets?' I'm not here to determine whether or not that person is innocent or guilty, my main goal is to make sure that his or her constitutional rights are not violated and try to give them best representation that I can.

 

Why criminal law?

I enjoy the criminal law because I am in the courtroom at least two to three times a week. I enjoy communicating with the attorneys, whether it be the prosecutors or the other criminal defense lawyers. I enjoy dealing with the judges. Being in the courtroom really exposed me a lot to the judicial system.

 

You used to work divorce cases, why don't you anymore?

I'm one those individuals who believe that at some point or another, you guys loved each other. I only need for you to come together for five minutes to get this thing worked out. If you don't want to live with each other, fine. You go your way, they go theirs. But let's get this thing worked out. But it's never that simple in divorce court and it's frustrating. I think that's where I lost my hair because I used to do them.

 

What do you do when not working, hanging out with the kids?

I really enjoy fishing. If I could go fishing every day, I would do that. But most of the time, I enjoy spending time with my girls.

 

What would you want your contribution to be to society?

That he was a good person and he tried to help his fellow man.

 

Your mentor?

The legal profession: Raymond Gross and Louis Kwall; and my parents, Rayfield and Hestella Showers. Both my parents were school teachers and my father is a pastor. They always instilled religious values and that you always put God first.

 

In one word, what advice would you give your kids about being successful in life? Why that word?

Choices. In life, you have those choices, either to take the high road or the low road. Hopefully, I will instill in them to always take the high road.

 

Does it bother you that in 2007, you are still a "first" when it comes to African-American achievements?

It doesn't really bother me, but it just goes to show that we still have work to do. But I'm a lawyer and I'm going to maintain the integrity of this organization and that's my whole focus, to allow this organization to reach higher goals. But it just shows that there is still a lot of work to be done and hopefully being in this position it will instill in other youth and young adults that nothing is impossible.

 

What are your goals for your one-year term as the Bar Association president?

The main thing is to continue with the community involvement ... . We want to continue to make sure that lawyers are accessible from the poor to the rich. Also, we are starting a legal-internship program designed to bring in high-schoolers and connect them with a law firm in the area. We want to instill that desire to become a lawyer.

 

The last book you've read?

The book of Malachi in the Bible.