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Life in the Spotlight

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Nick Otis


It takes a certain kind of person to be in an occupation that is constantly evolving and keeping you on your toes. It takes compassion and a desire to learn everything you can in order to help people with your new found knowledge. Nick Otis, a lawyer at Newby, Lewis, Kamniski & Jones, LLP in La Porte, strives to be that person every day, from working with those in need of representation to seeing the world from a different perspective.

Otis was born and raised in La Porte, Indiana. He attended La Porte High School, where he spent his days after school playing basketball. Sports were always an important part of his life. His father, Joe Otis, was his high school basketball coach, and there was never a time that he wasn’t on the court.

“That’s how I spent my Friday and Saturday nights growing up,” Otis said. “I had a great experience playing for my dad, so it’s always been a big part of my life.”

Otis continued playing basketball in his college career. He attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennesse, but it wasn’t there that the path to practicing law began.

“I studied accounting in college,” he explained. “I was always pretty good with numbers, and I enjoyed the classes and I did some internships, but I realized that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do.”

Once he realized accounting wasn’t the field for him, Otis made the decision to go to law school.

“I went to Valparaiso University,” he said. “Frankly, I met lawyers who I respected and thought that their careers were very interesting. So, I decided to take the LSAT, or the law school entrance exam, and I really loved it. At the time, my mom worked at the law school in their alumni relations, which was great.”

Otis graduated from Valparaiso University’s Law School in 2008 and immediately began working for Newby, Lewis, Kamniski & Jones, LLP. Since his career with the firm began, he has worked in a number of different areas of law, including representing school corporations, personal injury, and criminal defense. In 2017, he was named the City Attorney for the City of La Porte.

“My responsibilities at work are different every day, but I am in the office quite a bit for meetings and other work,” he said. “But every day is different, which I really enjoy. I have a variety of meetings to go to, like city council and school board meetings.”

“That’s what I really love about this job,” Otis said. “The variety keeps me on my toes and there is always something new. Even if you’ve graduated from law school, you’re always learning new things. I believe you should get out of the practice of law if you aren’t learning new things or don’t want to. It’s always changing and dynamic like that.”

When Otis isn’t working or broadening his knowledge, he is opting for a change in scenery. For the past few years, Otis has been in the process of getting his pilot’s license.

“I had a coworker who was a pilot and it sounded really interesting to me,” Otis said. “Unfortunately, it’s an expensive hobby, so it’s been a slow process getting my license. But it’s a really great experience to have. One time, it was kind of windy in La Porte, so my instructor said we should go to Valpo. That is like a 40 minute drive, but up in the air, it was a short ride.”

Just like how Otis loves the new knowledge he has gained from his 10 years of experience practicing law, he loves the new perspective he has of the world below him when he flies.

“In the planes I fly, we are nowhere near the height that giant Boeings fly, so you get to see a lot of really beautiful things while flying,” he said. “I would love to be able to fly to the Bahamas at some point. Obviously, we would have to stop a couple of times, but we would be able to fly into small airports and islands. It would be the adventure of a lifetime.”

For more information about Newby, Lewis, Kamniski & Jones, LLP, please visit http://www.nlkj.com/.

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