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Good Lawyer Stories


April 9th, 2013

We all know someone we admire and here’s your chance to shout them out for the world to hear and learn about.  Simply click the form below and add your information to the form.  We’ll collect and publish as many Stories as possible.  This project is in conjunction with the wonderful efforts of the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) charitable foundation Trial Lawyers Care (“TLC”), which can be found at

Click on this Submission Form to share your story!

Why it is so Important to find a Good Lawyer:

February 23rd, 2012

        How many times have we heard “I’ve got a good lawyer story for you” and then we listen to some lame joke about nasty things lawyers do to their clients, friends, or partners?  We feel a mixture of irritation, shame, powerlessness, anger, resentment.  Sometimes you laugh it off, because you know that isn’t how you are…right?  Maybe you feel embarrassed or defensive, and maybe you don’t.  Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way…together we can turn that around.

I’m a Plaintiff’s trial lawyer, and a graduate of the Spence Trial Lawyers College.  Each and every warrior I know does good work and puts themselves on the line personally, financially, emotionally and physically — each and every day — to achieve justice for their clients.  Translation?   As Gerry Spence says, we give a voice to “the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned” in their fight against mammoth corporations, heartless insurance companies, and gargantuan government.

So what exactly do I mean by a Good Lawyer Story?  It’s a story about the good deeds lawyers do, their cases, their motivations, their fears, their triumphs, their losses, and the terrible toll that being a lawyer exacts from us, our families and loved ones, our friends, and our colleagues.  Despite this, we never give up —we stay the course and continue to demand and fight for justice against all the odds.

In my 24 years of practice I’ve come across many who have been an inspiration to me.  There was Ron Estefan and Todd Kelly, both TLC warriors who put it all on the line to get justice for their client Jamie Leigh Jones, who was brutally gang-raped and disfigured by co-workers at her job in Iraq.  The employer was KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, one of the largest private U.S. military contractors in Iraq.

Todd Kelly explains:

“Jamie was raped, imprisoned, and discredited by her co-workers and employer.  No “big firm” would take the case because of mandatory arbitration.  I swore to help her.  Along the way, we changed federal law and she got her jury trial.  We thought we’d won.  But the jury didn’t believe us. Why?  What did they not see?  “Jamie, I will go to my grave knowing you were raped.”  I told her.  Jamie is still my hero:  because she was willing to fight – because she gave me reason to fight for her.”

Jamie’s fight was ultimately lost, and everyone except the defendants paid a terrible price for bringing the case.  But were the blood, sweat, and tears shed by Jamie and her attorneys along their path to justice for naught?  NO!  The fight was fought, the truth was told, and because new federal laws were enacted, other plaintiffs’ lives have been forever changed for the better.

And there’s Patrick Malone, nationally renowned for his groundbreaking work with Rick Friedman in “Rules of the Road—A Plaintiff Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability” and his follow-up book “Winning Medical Malpractice Cases With the Rules of the Road™ Technique.”  Pat has litigated hundreds of malpractice cases over his 27 year career.  What drives him to consistently take on the medical and insurance establishments to seek justice for his clients?

Pat explained that the case of Richard Semsker sums it up for him:

“This case hit me on a deeply personal level. I met Richard right after he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma.  If the mole on his lower back had been caught and excised early, he would have had a nearly 100% chance of not contracting cancer at all.  In the many hours I spent with him and his family, I grew to know and love them—not just as clients, but as human beings and friends.  Richard told me when he first learned a preventable medical mistake had stolen his health that he was devastated.  He realized he’d been victimized by the very caregivers supposedly helping him, because they saw the mole, but nobody told him to have it removed.  He thought his doctors were his allies, but they became his adversaries.  He felt powerless because he was unable to do his job of raising his twin daughters and he’d never grow old with his wife.  I also felt Richard’s betrayal and deception by his doctors when they refused to take responsibility for Richard’s death.  I think it helped Richard die a little more at ease, knowing that I was doing everything in my power to help him take care of his wife and kids.”

The list goes on, but here’s the point:  I’m making it my mission to change public perception that the term “good lawyer” is an oxymoron.  Here’s how:

●    I aim to do this one “Good Lawyer Story” at a time;

●    By showcasing stories about trial lawyers who put it all on the line for their clients, with compassion, guts, and determination;

●    By proving these are daily occurrences, not exceptions to the rule;  and

●    By collecting the best stories in a “Good Lawyer Stories” E-book for you to send to friends and clients;

And who knows. . .we might just make a real difference in how we’re perceived!

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John Mittelman