In my experience, multi-sport athletes have to have their act together. Moving among different sets of people, sport-specific fundamentals and the obligations you have to multiple sets of teammates and coaches requires adaptability, extra effort and time management skills. Bo Dennis has these traits and has carried with him the lessons from being a three-sport athlete in high school and a two-sport athlete in at the University of Delaware through his career as a trial lawyer and now as a mediator.
As you will see, Bo’s career has been among the most diverse. His trial practice clients, fellow members of the bar, and those who mediate with Bo benefit from that broad life experience and how relatable that experience makes him. And the persistence it takes to be an athlete and successful lawyer comes through as well.
Bo’s path eventually brought him from Pennsylvania to Florida, where he decided to go to law school. And, like so many of our mediators, he pursues lifelong education facilitated by a love of reading, which in Bo’s case is focused on history and the human condition and lessons revealed by it. And there is also, as you would expect, a competitive streak in Bo, which helped him on the mound and between the hashes, in the courtroom, and on a purely fun level, while playing chess.
I hope you enjoy learning more about Bo Dennis in this installment of “Meet Our Mediators.” We are glad he is a part of our team. When you work with him, perhaps he’ll share some insights with you from being the third oldest of eight kids, from his coaches and experiences in high school sports, and from his experience representing the Blue Hens on the football field and pitcher’s mound. And, if he tells you about his tryout with the Eagles, you may be inspired to go home and watch the 2006 movie Invincible.
- What did you do before becoming a mediator? Before I was a mediator, I was a trial lawyer for over thirty years and got to know a lot of really great people. I tried cases of all kinds and represented people from all walks of life. Prior to being a lawyer, I was a Dean of Students at a private academy; a high school teacher; a football, baseball and girls’ basketball coach; worked as a dairy farmer; sold cars; moved furniture for my Dad’s moving company; worked construction; bartended; was a camp counselor; worked at an ice cream stand; drove trucks; was a roofer; and worked high steel.
- What did you like most about your prior career? I liked being a trial lawyer as I enjoyed helping people, solving problems and getting results for my clients. I also enjoyed the intellectual side of researching the law and applying it to the cases I was litigating. I have always been competitive and being a trial lawyer was often challenging and satisfied some of those needs as well. I also enjoyed working with opposing counsel and working together to get matters resolved. I often realized they were as interested in finding a solution to a problem as I was.
- What is your favorite part of being a mediator? My favorite part of being a mediator is helping people to resolve problems. It is fun watching people with opposing views come together during the mediation process and seeing them realize they have some common ground or common reasons to resolve a matter. It is rewarding watching the process play out knowing that the parties are heading in a positive direction and that I have had some small part to play in the outcome.
- What are your favorite ways to recharge? To relax and recharge I enjoy going to the gym, playing sports (anything golf, baseball, football, basketball, darts, ping-pong; you name it), playing guitar, hanging out with my wife and kids. I also enjoy drawing, writing stories and playing chess.
- Did you have a mentor? How did he/she influence you? I have been very fortunate and have had many mentors in my life. There are two men that stand out: my college baseball coach, Robert Hannah, and my high school football coach, Bob Kwortnik. Coach Kwortnik invited me in to live with his family when I was going through difficult times as a teenager. He taught me the value of loyalty, commitment and friendship and has remained one of my closest and most beloved friends throughout my life. Coach Hannah influenced me (and hundreds of others) by simply being himself, and by continually demonstrating to us how a gentleman should conduct himself, even in the most stressful situations. Coach Hannah treated me as a man when I was in college (and didn’t deserve it) and at a time when I was at the crossroads between adolescence and manhood. His influence on me (and others) during that time cannot be overstated. Coach Hannah, in his self-assured and calm manner, taught us life lessons that we passed on to our children. By his presence and by the example he set, we each responded by giving our best efforts each and every day, which in turn resulted in a highly competitive and successful baseball team.
- What is your favorite movie? Book? Pastime? Sport, etc. and why? My favorite movie? That is a tough one. “The Sting,” “Braveheart,” “Gladiator” and “Cool Hand Luke” immediately come to mind, and I am sure there are others that would also come to mind if I sat and thought about it longer. These movies are epic and have such memorable characters and music scores, great cinematography and quotable lines (my daughter just reminded me that “our” favorite movie is “Pride and Prejudice”)! My favorite book? Another tough one as there are so many that I have read and enjoyed, but I think it is a tie between “Trinity” by Leon Uris and “The Source” by James Michener; both are fictional journeys through history.
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