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EP 42: Keys to Getting the Recovery Amount You Deserve (Part 5 w/ Jeff Watson)

You’ve probably seen plenty of attorneys advertise big settlements from catastrophic cases but how do you know if they actually got the amount their client truly deserved? It takes a very specialized and experienced attorney to understand that value and have the skills to fight for it effectively.

In this video, we’re continuing our conversation with Jeff Watson, Senior Managing Attorney at Speaks Law Firm, to help you understand the road ahead if you’re looking for a legal team to represent your catastrophic case. By knowing what to expect, it can ease some of the uncertainty and anxiety that comes along with these situations.

Today we’re going to talk about the qualities that you’ll find in the most successful legal teams, share a real-life example of how our team worked through one of these complicated cases, and explain our process for collaboration and projecting the value of a case.

Here’s some of what we discuss in this episode:
0:00 – Intro
2:11 – Pool of capable attorneys
5:23 – Real-life case about maximizing settlement
10:55 – Should character factor in?
12:58 – Predicting the value of a case
19:05 – Importance of collaboration

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Catastrophic injury, financial claims, recovery, damages, legal team, insurance, experience

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Welcome to the catastrophic comeback podcast with American Injury Lawyer Clark speaks, helping you find hope, purpose and joy after a catastrophic injury.

Welcome back. Jeff, you had just mentioned in our last episode, that in these catastrophic cases, it's not, it's important that your lawyer have a reputation and that your lawyer have experienced not just in personal injury, but in dealing with catastrophic million in multimillion dollar cases. And you had mentioned that, from a defense perspective, you had talked about how we tend to see in million and multimillion dollar cases, the same few lawyers on the defense side as well, it's like, it's like, it's like there, everybody who's got a billboard as a personal injury lawyer. But once the case gets to a certain level, the pool of people who are qualified to deal with those cases on both sides, plaintiff side, and defense side becomes smaller, is that consistent with your observations?

That is absolutely consistent. You know, there's, there's a lot of personal injury lawyers, lot of lawyers that advertise. And a lot of lawyers that will advertise a big verdict here and there, that does not mean that they're capable of doing a catastrophic case, or doing it on a regular basis, or that they've done a bunch of them. Or taking those cases through the, through the court system. And, you know, tried those cases, they may have, you know, walked into a big claim, and we're able to sell it for, you know, a couple million dollars. The question is, was that couple million dollars, what they should have gotten, or maybe it should have been twice that much. You know, so you trying to find a lawyer that does this on a regular basis, is not easy, but they're out there. And you know, we have a whole division focused on that. So we do it all the time. That's not the case with all plaintiff's lawyers, the defense lawyers are the same way. When I was doing insurance, defense, you know, if it was, if you had a car in case, you were going to deal with me as the young associate, if you had a dog bite case, you're going to deal with me as the young associate. If you had a catastrophic case, you're going to work for my senior partner back then, who had been working for 25 years and tried all kinds of cases against everybody there is to try a case against and you're gonna like that was a whole nother level of lawyer at that point. And, you know, I mean, I was one or two years out of law school, and this guy has been doing it for decades. There's a different quality of lawyer, there's going to fight these catastrophic cases. And if you've got a guy that hasn't done that a lot on a regular basis, going against a defense lawyer that does it all the time. That's all they do. That is a severe disadvantage. You don't want

to go in and fight Mike Tyson without Mike Tyson, you know, you got to have, they're going to have Mike Tyson on their side, you need Mike Tyson on your side.

Yeah, it's like, it's like, it's like a lightweight boxer who's, you know, 510 and 150 pounds, fighting a heavyweight, who's, you know, six, five and 250. That's not much of a fight.

So that reminds me of a scenario. I remember going into a client's house, catastrophic injury, very, very serious life changing injuries required full time care of not one to two different nurses, just a life changing, great guy, great family. And I remember, you know, we'd been representing him for maybe a year or so at that point in time. And he's, he's in updating them on all the different things that we're doing to build to build to build. And, you know, and he's, he understands and he's acknowledged, and then I can see in his face, he didn't want to ask me, I can see in his face that he's like, you know, is it all this necessary, you know, it was all this necessary, all these things that you're doing experts, because I mean, in that case, we had an engineering expert, we had an economic expert, we had a future medical expert, we had a past medical experts, you know, to show causation and, and all those types of things. We had a we we did not designate but we had consulted with a biomechanical engineer. We had safety experts. We had a lot of people invited in this edition. We had also filed suits and state court and federal court with the I were Industrial Commission. You know, we had done all these different things right to build and we had set a trial date of peremptory trial date, so they couldn't move. We felt they couldn't continue the case or whatever, so they couldn't delay it anymore. We had expanded our pleadings to include, you know, gross negligence and all these different kinds of things. And there's part of him that was like, you know, it's all this next Sorry, lookout, you know, look how seriously seriously, I'm injured. Like, it's, you know, and you know, and but but but when you look back at that they didn't offer us $1 They didn't offer us a single dollar until the day that that case resolved for eight figures. You know, they didn't offer us one red cent until the day it resolved. And I remember telling him that day I said to him, Hey, man, I could get you three or $4 million today, you know, today, I could get to that. But what we're trying to do was something different, you have had a life change. This is not like winning the lottery, you know, this is like, this money has a purpose. A lot was taken from you, you don't get multimillion dollar cases, by getting your ankle sprained. You know, these cases involve life changing injuries. So it takes life changing money to be able to address in and replace what was taken from somebody. Can you think of examples of that? Or is that consistent with your experience?

Yeah, it's, it's not just what's done to that person, it's what's done to their family, you know, great point. In that case, you know, this person had had children and grandchildren. And eventually, those grandchildren are going to have children, and his inability to be able to ever work again, or even move, again, was so catastrophic, that it affected multiple generational levels, economically, emotionally, you know, even physically, in some cases, I mean, it was it was, it was dramatic effect on the entire family all the way down the chain. And the money, we're able to get them, which was a phenomenal amount, one of the largest recoveries in North Carolina history. You know, that money is going to change generations of that family, to be able to support them, make sure those kids and those grandchildren go to college, you know, and

he was that guy, right? He was the guy that was going to be able, in a position to be able to do that, because he was hard work. And he cared about his family, you know? And he was he was that guy, so that it makes sense. But but but if we hadn't done let me ask you this, if we had not done all those things, if we had tried to take a shortcut, you know, I mean, we could have resolved it earlier a little bit earlier, right, we could have saved six months. But you know, we could have saved ourselves a lot of time and energy and expense, what would that have done to the result, the settlement value, or the amount of money that he would eventually receive, it

would have been 1/5, or 1/6, of what we ultimately got, and

those and whoever did that would still be able to walk around and beat their chests and say, I got three $4 million, or whatever it was right, you know, so. So so. So that, to me, is why it's important to have, you know, and here's another thing. Some of the times when you hear firms talk about, well, we got this, this verdict, or this, this, you know, judgment against somebody for this amount of money, you know, and then, and then you find out later, or if you're on the inside of the industry, you find out that children recover anything. That was a paper judgment that wasn't well, not worth and that was not worth the paper is printed on. So, so it's important that these things be structured properly, so that you can actually give the client the benefit of that effort in that. And that result. The so we talked about the qualifications. We talked about the commitment. And we've talked a little bit about, we've talked about the experience, you know, we've talked about the reputation, you know, are there is there is there anything else that you think is essential for people that for people trying to make a selection about who they should hire in these types of cases? Cat in catastrophic cases, what's what's is there another piece of this, specifically what I'm thinking of, I don't want to specifically what I'm thinking of his character. Is that a factor in this whole thing?

Yeah, I mean, what you want is somebody that, obviously we've talked about his experiences, you know, has all this background and has done all these things before but you want somebody that's going to be honest with you, you want somebody that's going to tell you the truth. You know, I tell clients often I'm a kind of a straight shooter. And, you know, I've never had a client that I've told that that said, Well, you know, I don't want you to be a straight shooter I want you to, you know, they always say we're good. That's what I want. Tell me tell me what it is, if there's something bad about the case, um, let them know, you know, we got a problem in this case, and but here's how we're going to try to overcome that. You know, and I'm going to tell them the good and the bad and the ugly, you know, because you have to have somebody that's honest with you about those things. So you understand what, what the what the risks are. That case that you were just talking about, that ended up with millions and millions and millions of dollars, that could have been settled for two or three. You know, we had to be honest with that client, that there are risks. If we follow this lawsuit, and we go all the way through this process. There are risks here, there was a risk, that client could come up with $0 In that case, and we had to disclose that and be honest with them and say, This is a risk. But we think if we do these things that we're doing, it's going to be a great result, it's going to work out for you. And it did. And here's the other thing, clients, often all the time are asking me, what's my case worth, you know, if you don't have an experienced lawyer, that's done a catastrophic case, they're gonna have no idea if that case is worth $2 million, or $20 million, or $200 million. They're, they're not going to know. And in these cases, we see in our firm, because of the experience of our of our people, having done these cases all the time, you know, we'll roundtable these things, and we'll come up with values of what we think this case is worth. And time and time, again, we've seen the case ended up resulting in almost I mean, it's scary how close we've gotten to the actual result of these cases, predicting them, sometimes a year ahead of time. Because we've done these things, we know what the value is, we know we should be heading for it, and not to take that cheap offer.

So over and over again, I mean, so I keep I have it for our exceptional case meeting, we have a meeting every couple of weeks about exceptional cases, about what where they are what needs to be in exceptional cases, or, or people or cases where people are catastrophically injured people have very serious injuries. And, and we're trying to make sure that we've done all the things that need to be done to maximize these cases. And Jeff leads that division. And so we have this meeting. And, and for record keeping purposes, I have to keep a record going all the way back. And it is phenomenal how accurately, we estimate the value of those cases over time. And it is. I mean, initially, you know, it's funny how, as each piece of the thing comes in, to play, you know, as we get a report back from an economist, as we get a report back from, you know, for future medical analysis, as we get an opinion back from a doctor, as we do an insurance coverage assessment, as we do have a liquidity assessment of a defendant if we do as we do all these different things, the different pieces come into place, and we're able to get a clearer and clearer and clearer picture of value based on our experiences. Jeff, let's talk let me finish talking to you about character, you talked to me about, you know, how you were how important it was that you'd be able to tell a client clients, injured people, and give them accurate information. Like I'll never forget what early in my career, I would, I used to do a lot of criminal work, I used to do a lot of heavy, heavy criminal work, federal criminal work, and all this where people were looking at just a lot, a lot of time, you know, and I would see these, I would see these guys that would come in to the, to the rooms with the with the defendants, and they would start off making all these promises. Oh, man, you got a great case, we're going to, we're going to do this and we're going to do that we're going to do this and we're going to do that, man, we're going to we're going to show them who's boss, right? Then they get paid. Then the next conversation. Oh, man, now I've seen the discovery. I didn't even know about this. I didn't know about this, I didn't know about oh, man, this, this is not the same case is when you talk to me and all this. And I'm sitting there thinking that that's not true. You know, I hadn't been doing this for just a few years at that point. And I'm like, we both know what's going on in this case, from a very early, first of all, we know is being prosecuted in the federal court system, which had a 98.6 conviction rate. They don't didn't take cases that weren't going to they couldn't win. You could see from the preliminary documentation, you know, warrants and, and, you know, indictments and those kinds of things that you knew the investigators because we had worked with him in the pet like they knew, you know, this, and they suggested this in order to get a in order to get the cat case. And then once they had the case, they would sort of, then they would sort of say, well, this is all different than I am and I knew that that was not true. And I committed to myself at that point. I don't ever want to be that guy, you know, right. I never want to be that guy. to another place where character is impaired. warden in the case that we, that you just mentioned, and people would people never beaten know this right unless you see it. In that case, as in a lot of cases, that case had a medical I mean, work comp, Cape piece, and a third party liability piece of it as well, right. So, so you got to work both cases at the same time, but we have different departments that will work both of those cases at the same time. And and, at the end of that case, we could have tried to resolve that worker's comp case, the medical piece of that worker's comp case. Now, if we had resolved the medical piece of that worker's comp case that would have resolved for multiple million dollars, I guess, right? That would have been a big fee for us. And we would have, we would have gotten a huge fee for that effort, right?

Did we do that? No, that was not the right thing for the client, we left the medical open so they could get treatment for the rest of their life,

sometimes it's the right thing for the client, but in this case, is not the right thing for our client, because his injuries are serious enough. And that medical treatment would be serious enough to where, even though that would personally benefit us to some extent for by getting a fee, that would expose him to a world of problems, because of because, you know, it would take away their obligation to provide him with medical treatment going forward. So would anybody have ever known about that, if we had done that, I mean, people do that all the time, sometimes it's the right thing to do, we probably could have defended their position. But in this case, it didn't feel like the right thing to do. And this was a better thing for for him. And we were able to negotiate that result. So So I think, if you're in this kind of situation, and you want to, and you're taking those things into consideration, the qualifications, the experience, the commitment, the character, the team, let me ask you want one other thing, I think this is the last piece of this collaboration, we talk about collaboration all the time, our firm has, you know, our core values and not didn't do a lot and do not allow for ego is not a place where people come in and pound their chest. And, and one person is trust to, you know, build with somebody else. It is intended to be a collaborative environment. Do you agree? And why? Why would that be the case? It's

really different than any other law firm I've worked in, in most law firms, when you when you take a case to a lawyer, that's the one that that lawyer is the one that's working on the case, not the other people in the firm, like every lawyer sort of, they call it eat what you kill, right sort of thing, you know. So if you bring a case in, that's your case, and that's, you know, that's not my case, that's your case. And so you're working that case, in our firm, you're not hiring a lawyer, you're hiring a team of lawyers. And so all of our lawyers, whether it's the pre litigation lawyers that are working on cases before we file a lawsuit, or the litigation lawyers that are, you know, taken after lawsuits filed, or it's our workers compensation team, or it's our mass torts team, or it's our exceptional case, team, whatever the case is, all of those lawyers are consulting together. On those cases, to try to make sure we're doing the right things strategically for the client. we're maximizing the value, you're using the right experts, we're we're building the case, and we're talking through things and it's great, because sometimes, you know, in those meetings, I'll bring up an idea. And it was like, No, I don't think so. That's not a good idea. All right. Well, once we think through it, like, you know, we can flush stuff like that out, sometimes I'll bring up an idea. And so I'll go, that's a really good idea. We had thought of that, you know, so the more minds we have working on stuff, the better it is because you know, you got different people coming from different perspective. You know, this person's done this kind of work longer, this person has done this other kind of work longer, just life background experiences. And when we pull all that together, it's pretty remarkable what we're able to do, you know, you're not hiring a lawyer who's got 20 years experience, you're hiring 120 years of experience from a law team, or 200 years, whatever, whatever the case is. So we had a conversation

of Wednesday, for our exceptional case. And I'm remembering Audra, who just happens who's who's a military her husband's in the military and been in the military for a long time and is very respected in the military community and all this but because of her involvement in that when something came up and she was able to contribute some some important information about military and how it operates and how it works and, and how it might be impacted in the situation and benefit our clients. So that's a perfect example of what you're talking about, you know, Oh, it's also something that, so my son who's in college came home. I think it was last weekend. And he was said, he said, Hey, man, I want to ask you some questions about, you know, what you do and all this kind of stuff. And I'm like, okay, so we, so we pull off to the, to a corner, one afternoon, and he's asking me, and he's like, No, you know, do you like what you do? And I'm like, man, you know, you know, I mean, I absolutely love what I do. And so, so we talked about it for a few minutes, and then it goes, you know, hey, what makes you what makes you you guys different? What makes you unique to this this practice? You know what I mean? And people have asked me that before, and I've thought about it before. And every time you're with a marketing people, they always ask you, what's your unique sales proposition or whatever, you know, but this is my son saying this to me, and I want to be able to give him a complete and comprehensive and genuine, authentic answer. And so I tell him a few different things about some of the things that we've talked about commitment and character and, and some of these different things. And I said, you know, one of these things, it's different is this collaborative process. And I said, if, and I started thinking about it, and I thought, you know, almost every lawyer in our firm has, at one point or another hadn't had a their own law firm, when you think about it. And that's different, I think, then if you just start off working in another law firm, if you start off working in a law firm, and I've worked with people who've worked in other other law firms, and they just, they just assume that there's another client come in, you know, I mean, if you have started your own law firm, and been in your own law firm, at some point in time, you realize just how precious these clients are at anybody in the whole world, they could have picked to put their their case, their their financial or their family's future in somebody's hands, they put it in yours. And you realize, and that's a deeply personal connection, if you've had your own Yes, law firm is personal in other ways, too, because you had to take care of that client in order to get another client. And you needed that other client, especially early in your career in order to be able to pay for your, your light bill, your apartment rent, or your diapers or your, you know, school lunches, or whatever, you know. And so people that have been through that, and people who have have started and built their own law firms have a different way of looking at these kinds of things. Plus, they're more resourceful, right, an insurance company says to them, you know, and we see this all the time, we'll talk to a lawyer, and in those say, Well, you know, your case not worth very much money, and some of the lawyer might go, okay, you know, and then and then what happens when somebody says that to to you, or somebody out in our, in our on our team, what's your, what's your response to that?

Well, I mean, to your point it, I've had my own law firm. And so I mean, you know, I've got to pay the light bill at home, you know, I've got to pay my staff, I've got to mean, I got responsibilities when I own law firm. So I've got to scramble, I've got to fight, I've got to take whatever that problem issue is, and find a way somehow to overcome that. I can't afford to let that problem or that adjuster just sort of say, well, this is how it's going to be. No, it's not going to be that way. Because my client, you know, is important to me, I know them personally. They're my client, I own this firm, you know, and I've got to find a way around that problem. So it makes me it makes me think, outside the box, so to speak, to be able to come up with a solution for that problem. You know, so I'm not seeing that $15,000 case, like the adjuster is I'm seeing a $30,000 case, and I gotta find a way to get that adjuster from 15 to 30. And I'm going to find it one way or another, I'm going to figure out what to do that scrap cloth, why would I hire somebody, whatever I got to do to do it. And if you haven't had your own firm, you've never had to experience the necessity of doing that for that client that you're really close to because you don't have, you know, 2000 clients, you got 15 clients. And so it's important to them, and it's important to me and my family. So you know that the fact that we have almost all of our largest have had their own firm at one point or another is, you know, is critical because they're all fighters. They're all scrappers. They're all resourceful and, and, and the clients are important to them.

Thank you, Jeff. When we come back, we're going to talk about some some more about some of these issues. So we'll take a break. Thank you for joining us, and we'll see you next time.

Transcript

Welcome to the catastrophic comeback podcast with American Injury Lawyer Clark speaks, helping you find hope, purpose and joy after a catastrophic injury.

Welcome back. Jeff, you had just mentioned in our last episode, that in these catastrophic cases, it's not, it's important that your lawyer have a reputation and that your lawyer have experienced not just in personal injury, but in dealing with catastrophic million in multimillion dollar cases. And you had mentioned that, from a defense perspective, you had talked about how we tend to see in million and multimillion dollar cases, the same few lawyers on the defense side as well, it's like, it's like, it's like there, everybody who's got a billboard as a personal injury lawyer. But once the case gets to a certain level, the pool of people who are qualified to deal with those cases on both sides, plaintiff side, and defense side becomes smaller, is that consistent with your observations?

That is absolutely consistent. You know, there's, there's a lot of personal injury lawyers, lot of lawyers that advertise. And a lot of lawyers that will advertise a big verdict here and there, that does not mean that they're capable of doing a catastrophic case, or doing it on a regular basis, or that they've done a bunch of them. Or taking those cases through the, through the court system. And, you know, tried those cases, they may have, you know, walked into a big claim, and we're able to sell it for, you know, a couple million dollars. The question is, was that couple million dollars, what they should have gotten, or maybe it should have been twice that much. You know, so you trying to find a lawyer that does this on a regular basis, is not easy, but they're out there. And you know, we have a whole division focused on that. So we do it all the time. That's not the case with all plaintiff's lawyers, the defense lawyers are the same way. When I was doing insurance, defense, you know, if it was, if you had a car in case, you were going to deal with me as the young associate, if you had a dog bite case, you're going to deal with me as the young associate. If you had a catastrophic case, you're going to work for my senior partner back then, who had been working for 25 years and tried all kinds of cases against everybody there is to try a case against and you're gonna like that was a whole nother level of lawyer at that point. And, you know, I mean, I was one or two years out of law school, and this guy has been doing it for decades. There's a different quality of lawyer, there's going to fight these catastrophic cases. And if you've got a guy that hasn't done that a lot on a regular basis, going against a defense lawyer that does it all the time. That's all they do. That is a severe disadvantage. You don't want

to go in and fight Mike Tyson without Mike Tyson, you know, you got to have, they're going to have Mike Tyson on their side, you need Mike Tyson on your side.

Yeah, it's like, it's like, it's like a lightweight boxer who's, you know, 510 and 150 pounds, fighting a heavyweight, who's, you know, six, five and 250. That's not much of a fight.

So that reminds me of a scenario. I remember going into a client's house, catastrophic injury, very, very serious life changing injuries required full time care of not one to two different nurses, just a life changing, great guy, great family. And I remember, you know, we'd been representing him for maybe a year or so at that point in time. And he's, he's in updating them on all the different things that we're doing to build to build to build. And, you know, and he's, he understands and he's acknowledged, and then I can see in his face, he didn't want to ask me, I can see in his face that he's like, you know, is it all this necessary, you know, it was all this necessary, all these things that you're doing experts, because I mean, in that case, we had an engineering expert, we had an economic expert, we had a future medical expert, we had a past medical experts, you know, to show causation and, and all those types of things. We had a we we did not designate but we had consulted with a biomechanical engineer. We had safety experts. We had a lot of people invited in this edition. We had also filed suits and state court and federal court with the I were Industrial Commission. You know, we had done all these different things right to build and we had set a trial date of peremptory trial date, so they couldn't move. We felt they couldn't continue the case or whatever, so they couldn't delay it anymore. We had expanded our pleadings to include, you know, gross negligence and all these different kinds of things. And there's part of him that was like, you know, it's all this next Sorry, lookout, you know, look how seriously seriously, I'm injured. Like, it's, you know, and you know, and but but but when you look back at that they didn't offer us $1 They didn't offer us a single dollar until the day that that case resolved for eight figures. You know, they didn't offer us one red cent until the day it resolved. And I remember telling him that day I said to him, Hey, man, I could get you three or $4 million today, you know, today, I could get to that. But what we're trying to do was something different, you have had a life change. This is not like winning the lottery, you know, this is like, this money has a purpose. A lot was taken from you, you don't get multimillion dollar cases, by getting your ankle sprained. You know, these cases involve life changing injuries. So it takes life changing money to be able to address in and replace what was taken from somebody. Can you think of examples of that? Or is that consistent with your experience?

Yeah, it's, it's not just what's done to that person, it's what's done to their family, you know, great point. In that case, you know, this person had had children and grandchildren. And eventually, those grandchildren are going to have children, and his inability to be able to ever work again, or even move, again, was so catastrophic, that it affected multiple generational levels, economically, emotionally, you know, even physically, in some cases, I mean, it was it was, it was dramatic effect on the entire family all the way down the chain. And the money, we're able to get them, which was a phenomenal amount, one of the largest recoveries in North Carolina history. You know, that money is going to change generations of that family, to be able to support them, make sure those kids and those grandchildren go to college, you know, and

he was that guy, right? He was the guy that was going to be able, in a position to be able to do that, because he was hard work. And he cared about his family, you know? And he was he was that guy, so that it makes sense. But but but if we hadn't done let me ask you this, if we had not done all those things, if we had tried to take a shortcut, you know, I mean, we could have resolved it earlier a little bit earlier, right, we could have saved six months. But you know, we could have saved ourselves a lot of time and energy and expense, what would that have done to the result, the settlement value, or the amount of money that he would eventually receive, it

would have been 1/5, or 1/6, of what we ultimately got, and

those and whoever did that would still be able to walk around and beat their chests and say, I got three $4 million, or whatever it was right, you know, so. So so. So that, to me, is why it's important to have, you know, and here's another thing. Some of the times when you hear firms talk about, well, we got this, this verdict, or this, this, you know, judgment against somebody for this amount of money, you know, and then, and then you find out later, or if you're on the inside of the industry, you find out that children recover anything. That was a paper judgment that wasn't well, not worth and that was not worth the paper is printed on. So, so it's important that these things be structured properly, so that you can actually give the client the benefit of that effort in that. And that result. The so we talked about the qualifications. We talked about the commitment. And we've talked a little bit about, we've talked about the experience, you know, we've talked about the reputation, you know, are there is there is there anything else that you think is essential for people that for people trying to make a selection about who they should hire in these types of cases? Cat in catastrophic cases, what's what's is there another piece of this, specifically what I'm thinking of, I don't want to specifically what I'm thinking of his character. Is that a factor in this whole thing?

Yeah, I mean, what you want is somebody that, obviously we've talked about his experiences, you know, has all this background and has done all these things before but you want somebody that's going to be honest with you, you want somebody that's going to tell you the truth. You know, I tell clients often I'm a kind of a straight shooter. And, you know, I've never had a client that I've told that that said, Well, you know, I don't want you to be a straight shooter I want you to, you know, they always say we're good. That's what I want. Tell me tell me what it is, if there's something bad about the case, um, let them know, you know, we got a problem in this case, and but here's how we're going to try to overcome that. You know, and I'm going to tell them the good and the bad and the ugly, you know, because you have to have somebody that's honest with you about those things. So you understand what, what the what the risks are. That case that you were just talking about, that ended up with millions and millions and millions of dollars, that could have been settled for two or three. You know, we had to be honest with that client, that there are risks. If we follow this lawsuit, and we go all the way through this process. There are risks here, there was a risk, that client could come up with $0 In that case, and we had to disclose that and be honest with them and say, This is a risk. But we think if we do these things that we're doing, it's going to be a great result, it's going to work out for you. And it did. And here's the other thing, clients, often all the time are asking me, what's my case worth, you know, if you don't have an experienced lawyer, that's done a catastrophic case, they're gonna have no idea if that case is worth $2 million, or $20 million, or $200 million. They're, they're not going to know. And in these cases, we see in our firm, because of the experience of our of our people, having done these cases all the time, you know, we'll roundtable these things, and we'll come up with values of what we think this case is worth. And time and time, again, we've seen the case ended up resulting in almost I mean, it's scary how close we've gotten to the actual result of these cases, predicting them, sometimes a year ahead of time. Because we've done these things, we know what the value is, we know we should be heading for it, and not to take that cheap offer.

So over and over again, I mean, so I keep I have it for our exceptional case meeting, we have a meeting every couple of weeks about exceptional cases, about what where they are what needs to be in exceptional cases, or, or people or cases where people are catastrophically injured people have very serious injuries. And, and we're trying to make sure that we've done all the things that need to be done to maximize these cases. And Jeff leads that division. And so we have this meeting. And, and for record keeping purposes, I have to keep a record going all the way back. And it is phenomenal how accurately, we estimate the value of those cases over time. And it is. I mean, initially, you know, it's funny how, as each piece of the thing comes in, to play, you know, as we get a report back from an economist, as we get a report back from, you know, for future medical analysis, as we get an opinion back from a doctor, as we do an insurance coverage assessment, as we do have a liquidity assessment of a defendant if we do as we do all these different things, the different pieces come into place, and we're able to get a clearer and clearer and clearer picture of value based on our experiences. Jeff, let's talk let me finish talking to you about character, you talked to me about, you know, how you were how important it was that you'd be able to tell a client clients, injured people, and give them accurate information. Like I'll never forget what early in my career, I would, I used to do a lot of criminal work, I used to do a lot of heavy, heavy criminal work, federal criminal work, and all this where people were looking at just a lot, a lot of time, you know, and I would see these, I would see these guys that would come in to the, to the rooms with the with the defendants, and they would start off making all these promises. Oh, man, you got a great case, we're going to, we're going to do this and we're going to do that we're going to do this and we're going to do that, man, we're going to we're going to show them who's boss, right? Then they get paid. Then the next conversation. Oh, man, now I've seen the discovery. I didn't even know about this. I didn't know about this, I didn't know about oh, man, this, this is not the same case is when you talk to me and all this. And I'm sitting there thinking that that's not true. You know, I hadn't been doing this for just a few years at that point. And I'm like, we both know what's going on in this case, from a very early, first of all, we know is being prosecuted in the federal court system, which had a 98.6 conviction rate. They don't didn't take cases that weren't going to they couldn't win. You could see from the preliminary documentation, you know, warrants and, and, you know, indictments and those kinds of things that you knew the investigators because we had worked with him in the pet like they knew, you know, this, and they suggested this in order to get a in order to get the cat case. And then once they had the case, they would sort of, then they would sort of say, well, this is all different than I am and I knew that that was not true. And I committed to myself at that point. I don't ever want to be that guy, you know, right. I never want to be that guy. to another place where character is impaired. warden in the case that we, that you just mentioned, and people would people never beaten know this right unless you see it. In that case, as in a lot of cases, that case had a medical I mean, work comp, Cape piece, and a third party liability piece of it as well, right. So, so you got to work both cases at the same time, but we have different departments that will work both of those cases at the same time. And and, at the end of that case, we could have tried to resolve that worker's comp case, the medical piece of that worker's comp case. Now, if we had resolved the medical piece of that worker's comp case that would have resolved for multiple million dollars, I guess, right? That would have been a big fee for us. And we would have, we would have gotten a huge fee for that effort, right?

Did we do that? No, that was not the right thing for the client, we left the medical open so they could get treatment for the rest of their life,

sometimes it's the right thing for the client, but in this case, is not the right thing for our client, because his injuries are serious enough. And that medical treatment would be serious enough to where, even though that would personally benefit us to some extent for by getting a fee, that would expose him to a world of problems, because of because, you know, it would take away their obligation to provide him with medical treatment going forward. So would anybody have ever known about that, if we had done that, I mean, people do that all the time, sometimes it's the right thing to do, we probably could have defended their position. But in this case, it didn't feel like the right thing to do. And this was a better thing for for him. And we were able to negotiate that result. So So I think, if you're in this kind of situation, and you want to, and you're taking those things into consideration, the qualifications, the experience, the commitment, the character, the team, let me ask you want one other thing, I think this is the last piece of this collaboration, we talk about collaboration all the time, our firm has, you know, our core values and not didn't do a lot and do not allow for ego is not a place where people come in and pound their chest. And, and one person is trust to, you know, build with somebody else. It is intended to be a collaborative environment. Do you agree? And why? Why would that be the case? It's

really different than any other law firm I've worked in, in most law firms, when you when you take a case to a lawyer, that's the one that that lawyer is the one that's working on the case, not the other people in the firm, like every lawyer sort of, they call it eat what you kill, right sort of thing, you know. So if you bring a case in, that's your case, and that's, you know, that's not my case, that's your case. And so you're working that case, in our firm, you're not hiring a lawyer, you're hiring a team of lawyers. And so all of our lawyers, whether it's the pre litigation lawyers that are working on cases before we file a lawsuit, or the litigation lawyers that are, you know, taken after lawsuits filed, or it's our workers compensation team, or it's our mass torts team, or it's our exceptional case, team, whatever the case is, all of those lawyers are consulting together. On those cases, to try to make sure we're doing the right things strategically for the client. we're maximizing the value, you're using the right experts, we're we're building the case, and we're talking through things and it's great, because sometimes, you know, in those meetings, I'll bring up an idea. And it was like, No, I don't think so. That's not a good idea. All right. Well, once we think through it, like, you know, we can flush stuff like that out, sometimes I'll bring up an idea. And so I'll go, that's a really good idea. We had thought of that, you know, so the more minds we have working on stuff, the better it is because you know, you got different people coming from different perspective. You know, this person's done this kind of work longer, this person has done this other kind of work longer, just life background experiences. And when we pull all that together, it's pretty remarkable what we're able to do, you know, you're not hiring a lawyer who's got 20 years experience, you're hiring 120 years of experience from a law team, or 200 years, whatever, whatever the case is. So we had a conversation

of Wednesday, for our exceptional case. And I'm remembering Audra, who just happens who's who's a military her husband's in the military and been in the military for a long time and is very respected in the military community and all this but because of her involvement in that when something came up and she was able to contribute some some important information about military and how it operates and how it works and, and how it might be impacted in the situation and benefit our clients. So that's a perfect example of what you're talking about, you know, Oh, it's also something that, so my son who's in college came home. I think it was last weekend. And he was said, he said, Hey, man, I want to ask you some questions about, you know, what you do and all this kind of stuff. And I'm like, okay, so we, so we pull off to the, to a corner, one afternoon, and he's asking me, and he's like, No, you know, do you like what you do? And I'm like, man, you know, you know, I mean, I absolutely love what I do. And so, so we talked about it for a few minutes, and then it goes, you know, hey, what makes you what makes you you guys different? What makes you unique to this this practice? You know what I mean? And people have asked me that before, and I've thought about it before. And every time you're with a marketing people, they always ask you, what's your unique sales proposition or whatever, you know, but this is my son saying this to me, and I want to be able to give him a complete and comprehensive and genuine, authentic answer. And so I tell him a few different things about some of the things that we've talked about commitment and character and, and some of these different things. And I said, you know, one of these things, it's different is this collaborative process. And I said, if, and I started thinking about it, and I thought, you know, almost every lawyer in our firm has, at one point or another hadn't had a their own law firm, when you think about it. And that's different, I think, then if you just start off working in another law firm, if you start off working in a law firm, and I've worked with people who've worked in other other law firms, and they just, they just assume that there's another client come in, you know, I mean, if you have started your own law firm, and been in your own law firm, at some point in time, you realize just how precious these clients are at anybody in the whole world, they could have picked to put their their case, their their financial or their family's future in somebody's hands, they put it in yours. And you realize, and that's a deeply personal connection, if you've had your own Yes, law firm is personal in other ways, too, because you had to take care of that client in order to get another client. And you needed that other client, especially early in your career in order to be able to pay for your, your light bill, your apartment rent, or your diapers or your, you know, school lunches, or whatever, you know. And so people that have been through that, and people who have have started and built their own law firms have a different way of looking at these kinds of things. Plus, they're more resourceful, right, an insurance company says to them, you know, and we see this all the time, we'll talk to a lawyer, and in those say, Well, you know, your case not worth very much money, and some of the lawyer might go, okay, you know, and then and then what happens when somebody says that to to you, or somebody out in our, in our on our team, what's your, what's your response to that?

Well, I mean, to your point it, I've had my own law firm. And so I mean, you know, I've got to pay the light bill at home, you know, I've got to pay my staff, I've got to mean, I got responsibilities when I own law firm. So I've got to scramble, I've got to fight, I've got to take whatever that problem issue is, and find a way somehow to overcome that. I can't afford to let that problem or that adjuster just sort of say, well, this is how it's going to be. No, it's not going to be that way. Because my client, you know, is important to me, I know them personally. They're my client, I own this firm, you know, and I've got to find a way around that problem. So it makes me it makes me think, outside the box, so to speak, to be able to come up with a solution for that problem. You know, so I'm not seeing that $15,000 case, like the adjuster is I'm seeing a $30,000 case, and I gotta find a way to get that adjuster from 15 to 30. And I'm going to find it one way or another, I'm going to figure out what to do that scrap cloth, why would I hire somebody, whatever I got to do to do it. And if you haven't had your own firm, you've never had to experience the necessity of doing that for that client that you're really close to because you don't have, you know, 2000 clients, you got 15 clients. And so it's important to them, and it's important to me and my family. So you know that the fact that we have almost all of our largest have had their own firm at one point or another is, you know, is critical because they're all fighters. They're all scrappers. They're all resourceful and, and, and the clients are important to them.

Thank you, Jeff. When we come back, we're going to talk about some some more about some of these issues. So we'll take a break. Thank you for joining us, and we'll see you next time.

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