After an accident, what should I look for in a lawyer?
Choosing a professional can be difficult. For example, before an NFL team selects a quarterback, they gather reliable information. They watch hours of film. They conduct interviews. They ask the player to submit to rigorous physical and psychological evaluations. They talk to former coaches, teammates, teachers, and friends. And still, lots of times they get it wrong.
Choosing a legal professional can be even more difficult because we have much less information upon which to base our decisions. Should we choose the one with the biggest office? He looks like he is successful. That could be because he does a good job for people. Ms. Jones said that ABC Law Firm did a good job on her case. Attorney Smith looks distinguished on his billboard advertisements. Maybe he has a lot of experience.
Trying to make a good decision with limited information is very difficult, and that is why I wrote this book. I want you to have more information so that you can make better decisions. I also want you to have a chance to get to know me and what is important to me. I want you to know how I approach cases and how I deal with clients.
I have devoted much of my professional life to helping injured people. I like to see people treated fairly. It bothers me to see big companies take advantage of ordinary people like my mother, an elementary-school teacher for thirty-five years, or my father, a commercial fisherman. I don’t like to see injured people suffer a second time simply because they lack familiarity with the rules and with the process.
In 1997 I started a law firm. The goal was to help people who needed help. My motto ever since then has been, “Every client is our most important client!” I got that from a federal judge I greatly admire. The judge was old, wise, and tough. He had learned all he knew through experience and the school of hard knocks. He was hardened by battle but softened with time. I had worked for him in law school. When it was time for me to leave and get a “real” job, he asked me for which firm I was going to work. I told him I was not going to go to work for any firm. I told him that I was going to start my own law firm. He smiled and reflected for a moment. That is what he had done.
A second later he snapped out of it and said, in a gruff voice, “You have to be like the guy in that movie, Jerry Maguire. You have to take care of each client that walks in your door like they are the only client that you are ever going to have.” I have tried to live by that advice every day. I try to make sure that the people who work with me share in that commitment.