JET Daddy: Aaron Watson
Black fathers. They do not get the respect they deserve in our society, though statistics show they are just as, or more, involved in their children’s lives as their counterparts from other racial backgrounds. But don’t just review the numbers, check out some of the dads JET is profiling in our JET Daddy series. These aren’t just men who have brought life into the world. They are dads who are living for their kids and vice versa. If you know a strong Black father who should be profiled, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put “JET Daddy” in the subject line.
Attorney Aaron Watson already has big dreams and major plans for his future little ones. Just weeks after learning his wife, Kimberly, was pregnant with the couple’s first children — she’s having twins — the first time dad-to-be took the extraordinary step of leaving his job at a large Florida law firm to start his own practice. Some may call his move “brave” or even “crazy,” but Watson, 32, says he’s doing it so he can establish a legacy for his children. Find out more on this soon to be dad below.
Name: Aaron Watson
Hometown: Picard, Alabama
Number of Children: soon to be 2
Kids(s) Name(s), Age(s): TBD
JET: What does fatherhood mean to you?
Aaron Watson: I think fatherhood is an opportunity given by God to show another human the way through your experiences in life — even your bad decisions — to hopefully make your child’s life a bit easier.
JET: Now, you’re not quite a dad yet, as your wife is currently expecting for the first time. How did you find out you were going to be a father?
Aaron Watson: Well, my story’s interesting. We had started trying to have children in November of last year. And in February of this year, I had advised my wife that I was thinking of opening my own law firm. I was currently with a very prominent law firm in a very cushy job, so in February I spoke with her when we were at dinner and said, “Hey I’m leaning towards opening my own business.” By that time, we didn’t know anything about having kids yet. In fact, she was concerned that maybe she wouldn’t be able to have them because of some issues in the family. But I spoke with her and she said, “I have your back.” And I went to speak with my mentor Fred Levin about it. I want to say maybe the next week after I advised Fred of it, my wife came to bed crying and said, “I’m pregnant.” So, it’s almost as if God gives you double for your trouble.
JET: When most men find out they’re having a baby, they run towards job security but you did the opposite. What were you thinking?!
Aaron Watson: (Laughs) You know, God has shown me over and over again that where you’re weak, He’s strong. I didn’t have the grades to get in law school, but I prayed about it and I got in. I didn’t have the requirements to work at this huge law firm, but now I’m the first Black partner they’ve had since 1955. I don’t have 10 lawyers in my family to show me the route in opening a law firm, but I know someone who’s opened many law firms and that’s God. You learn in life that when you trust God, the Bible says He will never leave you or forsake you. And I look at my past and say, “He’s never left or forsaken me. Why would He bless me with two children and leave me?” When I told my job I was leaving, it was because I saw something greater.
JET: Talk a little bit about legacy and what it means to you, as a Black man, to have something to hand down to your kids.
Aaron Watson: Wow. I got goosebumps just thinking about your question because a very large part of this faith step has been legacy not just for my children and for myself, but for the sharecroppers that were just a generation before me. My family was picking cotton in Mississippi and before then they were sharecroppers — always working for somebody and that person was always a Caucasian person. And I’m not one to inject race into issues, but that is a fact. We don’t have lawyers in my family; I’m the first lawyer. So, to go from “The Watson sharecroppers” to “The Watson Firm,” where I’m now hiring folks to work for me and representing folks across different races, it means something to me. It means something to the community.
I think that’s why they’ve been so vocal in showing their support for me. They see my billboards around town and say “Man, we can own law firms, we can own businesses.” And I knew that was going to happen. I knew God was going to use my story to inspire folks. And believe me, my father was probably one of the most excited folks. When he walked in and saw the lobby sign that said, “The Watson Firm” and the billboard he said he wanted to go bring my grandmother — who is up in age and has Alzheimer’s — from Mississippi just to come and lay eyes on it. Legacy to me is establishing success and achievement. I think it’s important to my family, my siblings, I think it’s important to my city, to other young folks and minorities who have a dream, but they don’t necessarily have the means.
For more information on Aaron Watson and his practice visit, www.watsonfirmlaw.com.