Growing up in New York and Pennsylvania, Rick attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating with a degree in Oceanography in 1978. Figuring he should put his knowledge of the oceans to some practical use, Rick became a nuclear-trained officer and served aboard the USS Patrick Henry, a nuclear submarine, until 1983. At that point, realizing that a continued career in submarines might let him see the light of day for one of every ten years or so, Rick elected to head off to law school. As he explained to the squadron commodore, "Perry Mason always surprises; L.A. Law is intense; and besides, I love arguing with people!!" With that, Rick headed off to the University of Colorado School of Law, agreeing to his new wife's request to "go anywhere to law school as long as we come back to the Pacific Northwest to practice law."