About: Hal Oakley - Class of 1986
The Community Advocate
The Community Advocate
The way Hal Oakley sees it, everyone is given gifts. It's how we choose to use them that matters, and Oakley has chosen to use his to help make an impact on the community.
He's a lawyer and partner with a local firm, but he also is passionately active in numerous boards and committees. That's a key word to describe him.
Active. Oakley says there are many worthwhile causes in the area, and there really is a "method to his madness." He wouldn't be involved if he couldn't be engaged.
When he's not involved with his job or volunteering, he often can be found on the family farm or reading and writing about history.
His first saw himself as a journalist, working at The Quincy Herald-Whig for several years. As he got older, he started to gravitate toward helping people solve their problems. It's something he doesn't seem to be able to stop doing, professionally or personally.
What do you do in your job?
I solve problems for my clients and help them to operate their businesses, organizations and personal affairs as legally and efficiently as possible.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
I married well.
Who has influenced you the most and why?
My parents and brother, foremost. I also have been blessed from childhood with a large extended, multigenerational family. Through knowing and observing them, I have learned much about how to live and to meet and overcome challenges (and occasionally what not to do). Educators also have been extremely important to me. They are too numerous to mention, but from kindergarten through law school, I have been educated by intelligent, caring and passionate people. A few have become personal friends. I even married a grade school teacher (but not my own).
What motivates you in your job?
I like to solve problems and improve the quality of people's lives and livelihoods. We all have gifts and should use them for the betterment of our society.
What career advice would you give?
It sounds trite, but work hard at school and then your chosen profession or other occupation. Intelligence and luck help, but a sound work ethic is something anyone can develop. It's the great equalizer. Also, don't miss an opportunity to learn, whether it's an opportunity to meet new people or travel somewhere new. Lastly, the advice my grandmothers gave me that I fail to heed at times ‹ amidst the work, don't forget to have some fun. Life is short. I am still working on that one.
What do you still hope to accomplish?
It's a surprise (perhaps also to me).
What was your first job?
I delivered newspapers for The Quincy Herald-Whig with my brother, Peter, for four and a half years. The pay was decent for a kid, and carrying 50 pounds of newspapers the equivalent of two or so miles a day was great exercise.
If you weren't a lawyer, what would you be doing?
A college professor or museum curator.
Leisure time diversions and/or favorite stress buster?
I enjoy playing with my children, visiting our family farm and bicycling. A family or local history project creeps in from time to time.
What is the biggest need in your community?
W.B. Yeats wrote in his poem, "The Second Coming," that "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." He identified the problem. We need more good people (especially in my generation and younger generations) with conviction to advocate for our community and its needs and translate that passionate advocacy into enthusiastic action for the greater good.
What is the ringtone on your cell phone?
I have no idea. I am wed to my blackberry, but quite frankly, I can't stand the sound of a cell phone. I usually turn the ringer off and watch for the blinking light.
Nominated by David R. Oakley Jr., financial advisor with Stifel Nicolaus:
"Hal is a gentleman of great honor, intellect and loyalty that is reflected in his commitment as a father and husband, his excellence in his profession and his passion for serving in his community."