Attorney by Day, Magician by Night: Eric Myers
You'd never know it to look at him. Eric Myers, a 2002 graduate of the Moritz College of Law, looks every bit the aspiring young attorney. With his conservative suit, and impeccable manners, he exhibits a quiet confidence. Yet, scratch the surface, and you'll find a consummate performer, a funny man with a wry wit who loves nothing better than to pull the wool over your eyes or a quarter from your ear.
For the past 18 years, Eric has traveled the States and abroad, charming both large audiences in stage shows and small groups at family parties with his "slight-of-hand" tricks. When asked how it all began, he says, "I had to do something! When I entered high school, I thought, OK-I'm skinny, I'm not an athlete, I'm not very good-looking. If I don't have some kind of trick, I'm going to get beat up every day!"
He ended up loving high school, and has gone on to have two careers that bring him both success and happiness. Modest to a fault, he says being a magician helps people to remember him in interviews or social situations, and probably accounts for whatever success he's had in life. Perhaps, but his strong motivation to entertain people, his genuine gratitude for his success, and his commitment to continually improve his work and his life speak to the contrary.
He grew up in a large, close-knit family that practiced two religions: Roman Catholicism, and a passionate love of Notre Dame football. His appetite already whetted by numerous televised games, a visit to the beautiful South Bend, Indiana campus sealed the deal-he knew it was where he belonged. He was so certain of what he wanted, he never considered applying anywhere else. Only after working in the admissions office did he realize how competitive the application process was, and how fate must have stepped in to make sure he had somewhere to enroll that fall.
For Eric, there's never been a need for a backup plan. He feels very blessed, and has the utmost confidence that God has a plan in store for him. "For my whole life," Eric says, "more often than not, I'm in the right place at the right time. Many people have bad things happen to them and say 'why me'? I have so many good things happen to me, when another one happens I think-'why me?'"
Word of his magical talents spread across campus, and Eric enjoyed "the best people he ever entertained-for practice or for pay." When friends saw him leading campus tours and shouted "Hey, Magic!"-the nickname given to him by Fighting Irish football players-he couldn't resist the chance to practice his art with prospective students and their parents.
It seems surprising that an admissions magician-turned-tour guide would end up as a lawyer-at least for his "day job." It was his parents' idea for him to go to law school. They always supported his interest in having a career in magic, but wanted to be sure he had "something to fall back on." Eric thinks it must have been all those Matlock episodes he watched as a child that gave them the idea. He says, "I always took the advice of Rodney Dangerfield to heart-'Listen to your mother. If things don't work out, you can always blame her for it.' It's worked out so far."
He continued to create magic while attending the Moritz College, and began entertaining the patients at Children's Hospital as a volunteer. Though he seldom spoke in class, he found plenty of gigs among faculty and staff, likely resulting from his yearly performances at the Moritz staff and faculty holiday parties. Budding magician and Associate Dean for Faculty Alan Michaels sought him out for advice on a trick, and the two became fast friends.
Even while attending law school, Eric wasn't sure if he would end up practicing law. Then came the opportunity to work at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur. He nearly missed the interview that would lead to his working in what he calls a friendly and stimulating atmosphere, but fate again-this time with Porter Wright recruiter Bob Tannous '87-stepped in. His boss and his colleagues, including 2002 Moritz grads Dave Orensten and Ryan Sherman, are overwhelmingly supportive of his career as a magician, and he has even performed a few shows at the firm. He believes that, as both a magician and an attorney, he lives in "the best of both worlds."
As discovered by alumni in other firms (see our Six for Six Partnership Sweep at Jones Day story, January 2002), the key to finding happiness in the workplace is to find a firm where you fit in, and that truly cares about its employees. Beyond their support for his magical avocation, Porter Wright enables Eric to "actually have a life." He says, "Being in the Columbus firm allows us to have challenging work for interesting clients, have all the advantages of a big city without the big city hassles, and the people are nicer here than anywhere else." He feels fortunate to be at Porter Wright, in contrast to so many other friends in other firms who "do only scut work and work incredibly long hours."
Eric relishes the time he has available to be 'the David Blaine of the law.' Performing magic tricks is pure pleasure for him. Like gardening or going to the gym, magic is his stress-reliever. He keeps a deck of cards in each room of the house; "just having them in my hands makes me feel better." He practices regularly, just to maintain his huge repertoire of tricks-one that keeps expanding as he endeavors to create new material for shows. He spends about five hours per week keeping nimble.
So what's next? It's the ultimate question put to a person who has faith that he will continue to be in the right place, at the right time. Eric replies, "If it all ended tomorrow, I would still be tremendously grateful to have had both these careers, even if for a short time. I would find something to do-I never want to stop improving myself. On the other hand, if I won the Powerball tomorrow, I'd just chuck it all, move to Arizona and play golf."