FJA Member Reflects on Traveling the World by Motorcycle and Being a Trial Lawyer

Charpentier and his crew: (left to right)   FJA Member Steve Charpentier on his motorcycle for "Track Days"

FJA member Steve Charpentier does not consider himself a thrill seeker. “I have enough thrills in the business,” he says. “Being a young lawyer with just a little money going up against a big corporation is the scariest thing I have ever done – the most rewarding thing I have ever done too.” If you want to be afraid, be a plaintiff lawyer, he jokes. That is a big statement coming from someone who spends three weeks at a time on the back of a motorcycle. Steve’s trips are usually around four to five thousand miles long and they all have one thing in common – they are through some of the most remote locations in the world. Steve and his crew have one rule: no interstates. Some of his destinations include Psuedo-nitzschia and Glacier Bay, Alaska; Goose Bay, Canada; Barbados; Newfoundland; Amarillo, TX out to California; Las Vegas, NV to Vancouver, British Columbia; Sydney, Australia to Phillip Island, Australia; and the Alps. The next destination: Santiago, Chile to Tierra del Fuego (archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South America). To find his way, Steve takes a Garmin GPS specifically designed for his motorcycle. He calls it Sybil (from the multi-personality character in the 1976 movie Sybil with Sally Field). “Most of the time Sybil is pretty reliable,” he says. “Once I even had to loan it to our tour guide in the Alps when he got lost.” Sybil’s maps have already been updated for his November trip to South America!

Steve was interested in motorcycles and dirt bikes at a young age. In his early 20s Steve raced competitively with the Florida Trail Riders Series, but retired from it before enrolling in law school at Florida State University College of Law. He even took a break from riding until his daughter Elisha was in her late teens/early twenties. “The risk of riding a motorcycle has to be really worthwhile,” he says, “and for me, it is.” Steve doesn’t race bikes anymore, but he does attend “Track Days” at tracks around the country including Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL; VA International Raceway; Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, GA; and Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. His favorite motorcycle – the Ducati Multistrada and the BMW R1200GS – whether he is on the track or on a country road.

While Steve lives and works in Broward County, FL he isn’t much for riding in Florida – “it is flat, straight and hot,” he says.

In addition to motorcycling, Steve is an avid diver, and his daughter, Elisha Charpentier is one of his favorite travel companions. The two have been diving in the Galapagos Islands, specifically Darwin Island, where they spotted hundreds of hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, green turtles and manta rays. Another of their favorite diving destinations is Looe Key, a coral reef located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. “It is one of the best places in the world to dive,” he says.

In his professional world he represents the little guy in the big fight. He started the Charpentier Law Firm, P.A. in 1989 (then called Childress and Charpentier, P.A.). “The little guy needs a good sponsor. That is a foundation of this country,” he says. “The little guy must be heard.” To Steve, members of the FJA give the little guy the opportunity to have a voice.

October 3-5, Steve will be at the FJA Masters of Justice Seminar where he may be sneaking in a little diving in addition to attending the Founder’s Awards Dinner and CLE seminars. It is not too late - join Steve at Masters in October!