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Judging by the number of firefighters, football players and fairy princesses that roam the streets each Halloween, most future lawyers don’t spend their formative years dreaming of bar exams and legal briefs. This month, we asked in-house lawyers about the careers they yearned for as kids, as well as how their plans — and closet professional dreams — have changed through the years. What we heard surprised us: Instead of would-be ballerinas and astronauts, we found an aspiring GC geologist and a novelist, as well as a one-time tennis ace. Additionally, since many executives spent at least one high school or college summer burger-flipping, babysitting or grocery-bagging, we quizzed this month’s group about their best and worst teen-age jobs.

MICHAEL DAVIS Assistant general counsel, 7-Eleven, Inc. The legal department: Dallas-based 7-Eleven has a Texas-sized share of the world’s convenience store market, with 20,600 stores in the United States, Canada and 16 other countries. His career dreams: For Davis, a Tulsa, Okla., native, land and sea held equal allure: “I loved boating as a child,” he recalls, “but my career goal was to be a geologist.” The bar didn’t beckon until well after college, when a 20-something Davis returned from active duty in Vietnam. “When I got home, I decided that I needed a career that would allow me to be successful,” he recalls. “Law fit the bill, and it seemed interesting.” Law may have been his first career, but Davis says he’s had his share of colorful jobs: “I worked an oil pipeline one summer — good money, hard work!” he laughs. Other unglamorous gigs included counting cars to measure traffic flow at intersections for Tulsa’s motor vehicles department and a school-year stint bagging groceries. “I didn’t get a dinner break, so my mom would come by the store with burgers every night!” If he weren’t a lawyer … “I’ve always been fascinated by geology.”

RAJ VASWANIVice president and general counsel, Kiodex Inc. The legal department: New York-based Kiodex is a 2-year-old company providing Web-based management and trading solutions for the commodities markets. His career dreams: “I never thought I’d be a lawyer,” Vaswani confesses. “I wanted to trot around the world playing tennis.” The GC — an avid tennis player since the age of 8 — contemplated going pro after college. Yet when the newly minted Yale grad embarked on the satellite circuit, he realized just how demanding the sport was. “I saw people who were a whole lot better than me — top-ranked juniors — sleeping in their Volkswagen vans, and playing with beat-up tennis balls because it was so hard to make ends meet,” he recalls. That’s when, Vaswani says, he turned to law, because: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and it seemed like good training for so many things.” If he weren’t a lawyer … “I think architecture could be in the cards for me. I like its need for cross-functional expertise.”

ELIZABETH HAMMACK Chief counsel, C.M. Capital Corp. The legal department: Hammack is the sole on-staff attorney at C.M. Capital, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital and investment firm. Her career dreams: The Berkeley, Calif.-bred Hammack grew up dreaming of the writer’s life, crafting short stories and reading books. “I don’t get to read much now, but I still want to be a novelist!” she jokes. Of course, there were other career influences: Her police chief dad inspired her to take a college gig with the Berkeley police force to help work her way through the University of California. “It was a night shift, and I did parking and traffic control — not too dramatic, but it paid the bills.” Yet it was a summer internship with a female county politician — who is now in the California state legislature — that led Hammack to her true calling. “She was trained as an attorney, and she really inspired me to go into law,” explains Hammack. The memory of that experience — and what she calls the “practicality” of the legal profession — led Hammack, a college history major, to nix her Ph.D. plans and pursue a J.D. These days Hammack can add handyman, dog-walker, and mom-to-be to the list. She and her husband are fixing up an old San Francisco Bay Area house to share with their Belgian mastiff, Swiss mountain dog, and the baby they expect this summer. If she weren’t a lawyer … “I’d like to be a novelist. I have a few spy stories in mind — the kind with international intrigue.”

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