Recently I was asked why I am still so passionate about representing personal injury clients after 28 years in practice. The short answer is, I know what it is like to be a personal injury client and have an unresponsive and unconcerned attorney. The experience I had with my personal injury attorney was terrible. I vowed to be the attorney I wished had represented me.
In August 1974 a negligent automobile driver severely injured me during my first month of law school. The only personal injury attorney I knew was my personal injury law school professor (this area of the law is known as “torts”), so I hired my torts professor to represent me. My attorney provided me no guidance or assistance while recovering from the auto accident. Neither my attorney or his staff answered my questions or returned my calls. My attorney did not recover what the law allowed or what I deserved. He did not stand up and fight for me like I expected.
I knew I could have represented myself much better than my attorney/professor did. In the class room, my law professor taught me personal injury law and essential lawyering skills. As my personal injury attorney, he taught me what it was like to be a client with poor representation and no guidance. His inaction taught me about client needs.
The experience of being severely injured in an auto accident and then poorly represented by my attorney, motivated me. I vowed to be the attorney I wanted representing me. To this day I make sure that every client is taken care of, that every client’s questions are clearly answered and that we fight for every dollar our client is entitled to. As it turns out, my torts professor was the most influential teacher of my entire scholastic career and had the greatest impact on the way I practice personal injury law.