“My work gives me a chance to help people get through life’s challenges. “
Mike Bryan had two career paths in mind as a boy. He would be either a lawyer or an astronaut. Then on the wintry day in 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up, he ruled out extraterrestrial travel.
The alternative played well to his strong suits. For one thing, he says, he tends to over-analyze – he’ll spend weeks researching a TV before he buys one. He also is attracted to the idea of drawing order from chaos, something that comes in handy when performing tasks attorneys are routinely called to do. Then, too, he could see how much his brother, Mark Watson, 17 years Mike’s elder and one of his partners today, loved his work.
His grandfather started what is today the Bryan & Hardwick Funeral Home in Zanesville. His father eventually took over the business. He always wore a suit, always dressed up. Mike remembers, too, his father’s kindness and his gift for being able to talk to people, even under dark circumstances.
“I hope I have some of his empathy,” Mike says. “My practice centers on elder law and estate planning. I saw Dad help people through some of the toughest periods in their lives. In my work, I’m helping people through what can be hard times, too. I help them avoid crises down the road. It gets back to doing work you enjoy, waking up every day and being excited about your work, doing everything you can to help folks get through those times in their lives. That’s where the satisfaction is.”
He met his wife, Carey, on Feb. 1, 2014. He says they hit it off immediately. She quoted a funny line from a movie he liked, and they were off to the races. She’s a special education teacher for Upper Arlington City Schools and had two pre-teen daughters, Isabella and Samantha, from a previous marriage. When he met the girls, he told Carey he didn’t know what to do or how to be. He must have done well because they hit it off, too. They live in what he calls a happy home in Granville.
“The things that matter to me are my faith, my family and my work. My work gives me a chance to help people get through that time, to take away those burdens of how do I pay for home health, assisted living or nursing home care? What estate planning should I have in place? What type of care does my parent or spouse need? How do I navigate the Veterans Benefits or Medicaid systems? When I’m able to show my clients a clear path with real solutions, I see their shoulders relax and hear that sigh of relief. It gives me a good feeling.”