Chase Freeman Attorneys At Law is one of the most prominent law firms in Seminole County but before Damon Chase became a lawyer with an office overlooking a golf course, he was a man with a different name and a different history.
His life story, said longtime friend Circuit Judge Nancy Alley, is one of redemption and hope.
He held a variety of jobs, mostly ironwork and bartender, he said, but he also tried to make it as lead guitarist in a heavy-metal band.
At age 29, living in a pay-by-the-week hotel in South Florida, he decided to turn his life around.
“I wanted a better life. I wanted to be a white-collar guy,” he said.
His big break came from his grandmother, with whom he was not close, and Santa Fe Community College – now Santa Fe College – both in Gainesville.
She needed someone to take care of household chores and offered him a bedroom and an $8,500 college loan. The community college agreed to admit him, an eighth-grade dropout who had a GED.
His next big break came on the first day of law school, Jan. 3, 2000. That’s the day he met and fell for another midlife law-school student, Melanie Freeman, daughter of then-Circuit Judge Thomas G. Freeman, a politically powerful judge in Sanford.
“She’s absolutely the best reward for changing my life,” he said.
The following December, just after finals, they wed in a tiny ceremony at her family church, St. Mark’s Presbyterian in Altamonte Springs.
Melanie Freeman Chase, 40, is his partner at the family firm, Chase Freeman in Lake Mary, which specializes in business law.
She has been his biggest advocate.
“In January, I watched him, in the pouring rain and wearing a suit and tie, stop to change a tire for an elderly couple on I-95,” she wrote in a letter in 2003, urging the board to admit him to the Bar. “What would that couple say about his character? The truth is, the board would be hard pressed to find someone who has worked harder to overcome the mistakes of his youth… He is an incredible success story.”
Chase has two children, both now adults, from previous relationships.
Chase has a reputation for being generous and doing community work. He is president of the Seminole County Bar Association and a board member of an affiliated group, the Seminole County Legal Aid Society. In December, the society honored him for his pro bono work.
At that ceremony, he talked about having lived on the wrong side of the law. He did not go into detail.
Said friend and Altamonte Springs lawyer James DeKleva, “I don’t know what he went through, but I can tell you, it’s a remarkable change.”
DeKleva called Chase a good lawyer, a good guy — a man who has transformed himself “like the phoenix rising from the ashes.”
It’s no mystery why Chase Freeman Attorneys At Law is one of the most prominent law firms in Seminole County
Company Name: Chase Freeman Attorneys At Law
Contact Person: Damon Chase
Email: Send Email
Address:1525 International Pkwy., Suite 4021
City: Lake Mary
State: FLORIDA 32746
Country: United States