Patrick Mitchell had a profound impact on my life, as he did on many. And I’m certain he would be surprised, or at least downplay any such idea. He was simply going about life treating those he encountered with respect, kindness and gentleness.
Though he was accustomed to position and title, these did not shape his personality, perspective or the manner in which he chose to interact in the world.
He was an honest-to-goodness leader. Not because he had the podium or possessed the authority to call one in on the carpet. But because he listened, sought to understand, and genuinely cared about those with whom he worked.
Pat did not believe his successes or position made him better than anyone.
Twenty-one years ago I was a new member of the marketing team at the law firm of Jenkens & Gilchrist, and Pat held one of his many positions in firm leadership. I first met him during an event where the marketing group was responsible for planning and executing. And in a setting where my function was to be at his service, he sought me out. He wanted to hear my story — for no reason other than that was who he was.
A few years later, working on a pursuit with a team of lawyers of which Pat was one, I made a noticeable and significant mistake — one I feared would damage my ability to work with the team. Pat was quick to provide appropriate support, to the point of taking responsibility for the error himself. This forever impacted the way I would interact with others in the wake of mistakes.
I was privileged to collaborate with him for seven years…including a lengthy season of crisis that tested the spirit and integrity of many. Pat never changed.
On the day the law firm closed, after leading an initiative that resulted in virtually everyone in the AmLaw 100 firm finding a new work home, Pat spent the afternoon deflecting any credit, and saying thanks to others.
Pat Mitchell passed from this life earlier this week.
He was one of the best men I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I am certain I am not the only one who is honored to say that his example continues to make me a better colleague and friend.
My heart breaks for his family. Peace.