Attorney A. Scott Bolden reveals how all fathers must learn, live and forgive

A. Scott Bolden is the current Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C., office and former Member of the Executive Committee of Reed Smith, LLP. As a prominent trial and white-collar defense lawyer, Mr. Bolden handles some of the most high-profile matters in and outside of the nation’s capital and on the national stage. Mr. Bolden appears regularly on CNN, Fox National News and TV ONE to give legal and political commentary on current events. He has also appeared on Good Morning America, ESPN, MSNBC and 20/20.

Mr. Bolden is a proud graduate of Morehouse College and Howard University Law School where he serves on the Board of Trustees and the Howard University Law School Board of Visitors. He also serves on the board of the Greater Washington Urban League, as its General Counsel. In 2018, he was honored by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association with the Rainmaker Award and he was recently inducted into the Washington Bar Association Hall of Fame.

What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?

My goal is to leave a legacy for my children and the children of my community is choosing excellence and to be excellent every day, of giving back to my community through service and of providing human and financial resources for them to not just reach their dreams, but to provide sustainable wealth building for themselves and others in our communities of color.

How would you describe your Fatherhood culture?

Firm, protective, love based, sharing, with humor and open communications at all times.From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every child read?

  • The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson and Black Boy by Richard Wright. All include important life lessons.

Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills?

Because education and a skill set are the great equalizers in this country of ours’.  Children need to be able to support themselves, strive and succeed as strong African American men and women who love themselves and their families when they grow up–insuring that they are productive adults.

As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook.

It is my job and no one else’s to set and maintain the standards for how I show up in my children’s lives to be spiritually strong, that they are respectful of others, that they are loving, hard working and responsible members of their communities. It is my job to ensure that the resources are there to provide for them, that I protect them and profess and give them the love, the tools and the life skills that they need to become leaders in their professions, in their communities and in their families.

Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?  

Finding one of my daughters when she was 19 years old has taught me that I am not perfect, but that it is never too late to address your failures in life, and that it is not about failing, rather it is about what you do to succeed after you fail or fall down.  Becoming her father and even a grandfather, as she was six months pregnant with my grandchild, Ashanti, when she came into my life. That taught me to love again and that daughters find their identity in their fathers’. Shayla and I found ourselves in each other.  With love and forgiveness at the base of our relationship, there are no regrets allowed. We claim only future successes between us. I am most proud of the blending of our families together has worked with Shayla and my twin daughters, McKay and McKenzie, and Ashanti—all having grown close and truly love one another.

How important is keeping your word?

Keeping your word is everything. Integrity is an expensive asset that can’t be bought or sold, but certainly lost, and may never be found again.  Protect it, keep it, hold on to it, and never let it go. If so, it is more valuable than gold and with it, you will be a rich man over the course of a life time.  

When it comes to protecting yourself at all times, physically and mentally, what would you tell your children?

Protect yourself at all times.  Love yourself. And, never delegate the power to define how you feel about yourself to others.  It is a power, far too important to give to someone else. Giving it away, allows others to marginalize, undermine and corrupt the love you have for yourself.  

Share one of your fondest memories you’ve experienced with your father, grandfather or father figure.

I am a second generation lawyer. One of my fondest memories are going with my father as a child to different courthouses and jailhouses around Illinois to meet with and represent clients—often we were the only people of color in these places. I reveled in the opportunity to watch my father, hear his booming voice in the courtroom vigorously advocating and traveling around with him so we could “do justice” together.  He was, and is my hero, and why I practice law today.

Why is writing down your fatherhood goals for life so important? Share your most valued and treasured fatherhood goal.

In order to know what your goals are for being a good father you have to write them down and measure how you are doing. My twin daughters recently graduated from college, for example. That was one of my most treasured goals for them and I am glad that I was able to see them both graduate.  Now, if I could only get them out of my pockets for good!

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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