Saturday, February 01, 2003

Well, I have now entered the world of blogging, which appears to me to be the coming thing for news and opinion dissemination. My approach will be to post links to content in areas of interest to trial lawyers and those who may be represented by trial lawyers, meaning just about everybody.

By way of definition, a "trial lawyer" is an attorney who primarily represents plaintiffs, in claims or lawsuits against defendants officially, but in fact against the insurance companies who hire counsel to represent defendants, and who call the shots during the claim or the lawsuit. I have been a trial lawyer since 1986, and have practiced law [by the way, why is it that we all still "practice?" Haven't we gotten good enough at this yet to actually do it?] in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and for the last 10 and a half years, in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am unabashedly pro-plaintiff, given the number of times I have personally seen how the insurance industry handles automobile accident or worker's compensation claims. I have, in fact, given some idle thought at times through the years to doing insurance defense work [representing defendants/insurance companies], but simply was never able to face the concept that I would have to stick it to some poor, undeserving claimant/plaintiff, solely because that would be my job. So, a plaintiff's lawyer I am, and will stay.

Actually, I always say [facetiously?] that lawyering is just my day job. I am also a musician and drummer for the last 28 years [note: obtain wheelchair due to extreme old age], and have been playing for almost two years with a mostly-lawyers band, called The Verdicts. We do rock and soul music, and have a lot of fun with it. Irony number one is that most of the lawyers in the band are insurance defense lawyers. As is often the case, the attorneys I deal with regularly are not on the plaintiffs' side; they are the defense attorneys I litigate against. I call many of them friends, and some of them very good friends. I do sometimes wonder how some of them sleep at night, though....

During the course of this blog, if it thrives, I will try to present the viewpoint of the plaintiff's trial lawyer, while, hopefully, debunking the horrible stereotype that has descended upon those who do what I do. I saw a need for a forum of this type for a couple of reasons.

First, plaintiff's lawyers are regularly portrayed in the media, in TV and movies, and even in commercials, as greedy, shark-like ambulance chasers, who have no regard for ethics or for the best interests of their clients. Classic joke in this regard: What do you call 30 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. This image that has been foisted on the public is contrasted with the insurance defense or big firm corporate lawyer, who is always presented as upright, moral, and the "good guy." Irony number two is that it is the plaintiff's lawyer who is trying to help the little guy, the regular Joe on the street, while it is, in fact, the defense lawyer whose job -- by its nature -- is to minimize or eliminate any recovery to that regular person, regardless of who's entitled to what.

A second reason for trying this blog is that there is simply too much propaganda [a term I use quite deliberately] out there denigrating the plaintiff's bar. If, through this blog, I can turn readers on to what we really do, and what kind of people that we are in general, then I can call the effort a success.

A third reason to do the blog will be some shameless self-promoting of my own services and those of my firm. So, if anybody actually reads this, and sees links to my firm's web site or hears me making noise about something I did, please excuse me in advance.

Anyway, so much for introductions. Let's see if we can find some nifty links for all you readers out there chomping at the bit.

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