What do you like most about being a lawyer, and least?
The ability to help people in need, and the fact that often we are fighting an uphill battle. It’s often a David and Goliath scenario, which can of course be very frustrating.
What question do you hear most frequently from clients?
How much is my case worth?
Many people who need the help of a personal injury lawyer are going through extremely difficult periods of their lives. What words of support do you offer to people in this situation?
I don’t do personal injury. But in comp or SS, I generally try to let them know that they have a strong case and even though the path might be a difficult one, we will walk it together.
Many clients do not have a sense of the value of their case. What advice do you have to help a client decide whether a settlement offer is a reasonable offer?
I try to remain objective and let them know that one of the reasons they hire an attorney is because while I can be objective, it is almost impossible for them to be because this case certainly effects them more than anyone. I also always try to be clear about what can actually be won in a court room (and what cant), and what the chances of success are. That usually helps. One example I often use is, “if I can win you $1 in a court room with a 50/50 chance of success, and they offer you $0.51 to settle, the wise person takes that every time.”
What motivated you to become a lawyer?
Working in finance and seeing just how broken or absent the laws were that protect average people.
How is being a lawyer different than what you expected before joining the profession?
To be perfectly frank, I went from a downtown office to working with clients of the lowest socioeconomic status there is. While it is very rewarding, I did not expect it.
What is an interesting fact about you that someone would not learn from looking at your resume?
This kind of goes to the next question as well. When I was born (parents first born), I made 14 in our household. It was in 1980 during the height of the Vietnam refugee crisis. My parents had 3 families (11 people total) living with them in their 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house in Cleveland. They did not speak the same language, their culture was wildly different (they had never even heard of Christianity for example), and that one bathroom, well they had never even used a modern toilet. That level of selflessness from my parents is something I strive for. It has (hopefully) shaped me into the person I am today. It taught me that race and religion are not something that should divide people, which is an important lesson at a young age.
Who do you most admire and why?
My father. He worked his whole life to support others, including his 3 kids, countless strays (as he use to call them). There at least 4 people that I call brothers and sisters, no actual relation who, lived with us over the years, and he never asked for anything in return. He worked 80+ hours a week as a cardiologist in a small, underfunded hospital until cancer forced him into retirement at the age of 70.
You work hard as a lawyer during the week. What is your favorite thing to do to relax on the weekends?
Golf in the summer, snowboard in the winter, and as many concerts/sporting events as I can afford.
Who was your favorite lawyer on television and why?
The hospital lawyer in the show, Scrubs. Comical tragedy at its finest.