Legal & Courts  August 22, 2022

Boulder lawyer turned author honors late father with first book

BOULDER — When your dad tells you to do something, you better do it. 

For Giovanni Ruscitti, an attorney and partner at Boulder-based law firm Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP, the demand from his father was to memorialize the family lore. 

The result: “Cobblestones, Conversations, and Corks: A Son’s Discovery of His Italian Heritage,” Ruscitti’s first book, an ode to his father, mother and their homeland. 

Ruscitti will speak and sign copies of the book at an event at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Boulder Books. 

Emilio Ruscitti, prior to his death in 2019, said several times to his son Giovanni, “It would be great if you could tell our family story,” the younger Ruscitti told BizWest. 

While Giovanni Ruscitti promised his father he would honor that request, it wasn’t clear in what form those stories would be told.

“Honestly, I never thought I could write a book or have the time to write a book,” he said. 

But soon after Emilio Ruscitt died, his son put pencil to paper and began scribbling. 

“I had no idea what I was going to do with it, no outline, no plans whatsoever,” Ruscitti said. “… But as I got into it, I found the writing process to be very spiritual, and a profound moment occurred” when he thought back to his first trip to the Ruscitti family’s ancestral home: Cansano, Italy.

The trip was in 2013, when Ruscitti was 46. “I had all of these stories deeply ingrained in my mind” from Emilio Ruscitti’s repeated tellings over the decades, Ruscitti said, so Cansano felt familiar despite his never having stepped foot in the central Italian hamlet. 

He knew that that trip to Cansano would form the backbone of his book.

The story evolved from memories passed down by Emilio Ruscitti, to a tale of father and sons, of husbands and wives, of immigrants and war, of pasta and red wine, of being Italian and being American.

With little more than “a shirt on his back and fifth-grade education,” Emilio immigrated from a small town in Italy ravaged by World War II to Frederick, which had a long history of welcoming immigrants from the region to work in coal mines. 

“There were a lot of Italian immigrants in the Tri Towns area of Frederick, Firestone and Dacono,” Ruscitti said. “… I could walk down any street in Frederick and hear more Italian than English.”

The book has allowed Ruscitti to rediscover that feeling of Italian voices ringing in his ears, of friends and family, of comfort and home. 

For years, as part of his daily process of meditation, movement and mindfulness, Ruscitti has dedicated a block of time in the morning for himself — a few moments when the pressures of the law practice take a back seat.

“So I would use that time to work on the book,” he said. “… What I found was that writing is an activity that brought me a lot of balance and brought me a lot of perspective. It actually made my job as a lawyer and a managing partner at Berg Hill easier to do. It really helped ground me.”

In 2020, Ruscitti shared a draft of his writings with Vic Lombardi, an AltitudeTV sportscaster and fellow first-generation Italian, who praised his friend’s prose.

“There might be an audience for this,” Ruscitti realized. 

Less than a year after Ruscitti began, the book was done. 

Armed with the confidence that there would be people interested in reading the Ruscitti family stories, he began navigating the publishing world and ultimately landed at Radius Publishing Group.

“They’d read portions of the manuscript and really believed in the story,” Ruscitti said of the Radius team, which he praised for allowing the author to maintain a certain level of creative control.

Still, for a business owner and prominent lawyer used to getting his way, the editing process can be humbling, he said.

But when the dust settled and the cliches common to new authors were jettisoned from the pages of “Cobblestones, Conversations, and Corks,” Ruscitti said that “the final work product is something I’m very pleased with.”

While writing a book was an exhilarating experience, and one Ruscitti knows his father would be proud of him for completing, Ruscitti isn’t quitting his day job anytime soon. 

“I love being a lawyer and will continue practicing law for a long time in this community,” he said. “But I do think it’s important for people to express their creative sides. There’s no reason why you, as a professional, should just be limited to doing one thing. You’re a doctor, you’re a lawyer, you’re an engineer — those are just labels.”

BOULDER — When your dad tells you to do something, you better do it. 

For Giovanni Ruscitti, an attorney and partner at Boulder-based law firm Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti LLP, the demand from his father was to memorialize the family lore. 

The result: “Cobblestones, Conversations, and Corks: A Son’s Discovery of His Italian Heritage,” Ruscitti’s first book, an ode to his father, mother and their homeland. 

Ruscitti will speak and sign copies of the book at an event at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Boulder Books. 

Emilio Ruscitti, prior to his death in 2019, said several times to his son Giovanni, “It would be great…

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