“Raising a family is 24/7,” says Scott Schulten of Atlanta’s Schulten Ward & Turner, “and building a business is 24/7. So you keep your head down to focus on what you have to do, but eventually you pick your head up and you look around and say ‘Where am I? By the way, who am I?’”
Practicing law hasn’t been without its adventures, of course. One Christmas Eve in the 1980s, Schulten received an urgent phone call asking for help on a case involving a prominent Saudi businessman. Schulten, who had never left the U.S., had to immediately fly to New York, take a helicopter to the Saudi Consulate for a visa, then fly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He landed at midnight, was surrounded by guards and whisked away in a Mercedes to the client’s 30,000 square-foot home. The money Schulten earned from this case helped create his firm.
But around his 57th birthday he realized he was running out of time to do the things he’d been craving. “As a friend of mine said, ‘50 may be the new 40, but when your age starts with a ‘6,’ you’re getting up there,’” he says. So Schulten got busy creating his bucket list.
He kicked things off with a 3,000-foot climb up Mount Sherman in Colorado. “I think that was just a revelation,” Schulten recalls, “challenging myself to do something I had never done before, and then doing it and then enjoying it so much.”
Since then, he’s skied in Switzerland, climbed the pyramids in Egypt, visited the southernmost point of South America, ridden in a hot air balloon in Colorado, been certified as an “aficionado of wine,” and re-visited his interest in art by attending the Burning Man arts festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
He’s found that all his extracurricular feats, rather than hindering his career, have enhanced it. “I think to be a good lawyer, you have to be happy with yourself and well-rounded,” he says. “I think that means finding things you love and doing things you love. Being a fully functioning person or a self-actualizing person makes me a better lawyer.”