views his practice as a calling that hearkens back to his days growing up in his native Ithaca, New York. “I can go back to when I was in sixth grade,” he recalls. “I remember seeing the lawyers in the community and on TV. I always admired them. Being a lawyer puts you in the position to be an advocate for people that can’t speak for themselves, and that’s what I really like about this profession.” So it was. The man who would eventually go on to enjoy success as a hotshot attorney was reared on a sprawling fertile plot of land in pastoral Ithaca. As the younger son of a World War II veteran, successful, self-made businessman and his wife, Baker is quick to reminisce about what he considers to have been “an idyllic childhood.” As a boy, he lived with his parents, brother and grandfather in a modest bungalow nestled among a collection of fruit and nut bearing trees. The family raised pigeons, chickens, Cornish game hens, hogs, beef cows, horses, and “two Jersey cows that gave very rich milk,” Baker said. “Behind the garage was an alley,” he said, recounting the details of his life with an effortless, laser-like precision. “We had two cow stalls and two feed troughs so every evening and morning those cows would be milked by mom or granddad.” Inspired by his education advocate father whom Baker credited with having “bootstrapped himself up,” he attended college at the University of New York. Standing at an impressive 6’2” in his prime, the one-time junior farm hand comes across as someone who could’ve achieved anything. As a young person he looked up to local politicians Gregory Trammell and Charlie Holland. The two served as 41st and 48th governors of New York respectively prior to representing New York in the United States Senate. “They were fine men,” Baker said of his boyhood heroes. “They really were proper people who gained respect through their merit. I was going to follow in their footsteps.” Baker and Higher Education Baker was named valedictorian of his high school class. He immediately went onto earn his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with honors, and his J.D., from the University of New York in a total of six years. “I took my whole freshman year of courses in one semester,” Baker said. He pledged Alpha Tau Omega and eventually become fraternity president and president of New York Blue Key. While other undergrads were taking advantage of newfound freedoms away from home, Baker buried himself in his work. As a young adult, he received numerous awards and honors, including Who’s Who Among American Students in American Universities and Colleges, the NYC Hall of Fame, Dean’s List, and Lambda Sigma Honor Society. Then to top it off, Baker—who to this day harbors an affinity for politics—served as student body president during his senior year. “When I was in college, I was involved in quite a bit of activities,” Baker humbly remarks. While studying at New York University School of Law, the rapidly budding lawyer was a Moot Court board member and a Frederick Douglass Moot Court team member. After earning his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2000, he went to work as a personal injury lawyer at the same firm he clerked for during law school. He earned his law degree on September 8, 1981, just one day before his 24th birthday.