Oct 31, 2012

Illinois Alpha (Northwestern) Phi Succeeds As NFL Referee And Florida Lawyer

The Scroll News
Illinois Alpha (Northwestern) Phi Succeeds As NFL Referee And Florida Lawyer

Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-US Presswire

Article as seen in Northwestern Magazine

J. Jeffrey Rice knows the law — both in the courtroom and on
the gridiron. The Fort Myers, Fla.–based attorney spends his fall
 Sundays in stripes, upholding the rules as an NFL umpire, the most
 dangerous officiating position on the field. He works in the trenches,
 looking for false starts and illegal blocks among the giants on the
 offensive and defensive lines. Rice, who followed in his father’s 
referee footsteps, started officiating while in law school at Case 
Western Reserve University. He scheduled his classes during the day so
he could referee at night. Rice slowly worked his way up the ranks and
 joined the NFL in 1995. He has officiated two Super Bowls, numerous
 playoff games and two Pro Bowls.

Rice, an N Club member who played 
varsity baseball at Northwestern, commits 30 to 50 hours per week to 
officiating while maintaining his full-time job as a lawyer. He
 specializes in commercial, construction and real estate law and also 
serves as the managing partner at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice 
& Purtz. A seven-time “Florida Super Lawyers” honoree, Rice has
 reached the pinnacle of success in both professions. And while pulling
 double duty is not easy, Rice finds similarities in the two professions
 that give him an edge in both. “As an official, I have to know the 
rules, just like I have to know the law,” he says. “You have to be able
 to think on your feet. You have to be able to adjust and adapt.”

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