Our office is not in search of a large quantity of cases nor is there a push to settle cases as soon as possible. We want to understand each client’s circumstances and assure that the injuries, symptoms and treatment have reached a point where evaluation and settlement negotiations are in the client’s best interest. This is a decision to be made by the client and lawyer after careful consideration and thoughtful discussion. We are a small firm 100 percent Iowa-based with no affiliation with out-of-state entities. We do not market our services with celebrities, slogans, unsolicited mailings of solicitation letters (labeled "advertising') with colorful brochures or make unsolicited phone calls. We do not refuse cases where preexisting conditions exist but rather work to understand the extent of aggravation caused by the negligent trauma. Our commitment and loyalty is simple: our clients. We do not gather in the headquarters 500 miles away at year end with lawyers from other firms around the midwest to receive bonus money based upon the money my firm has brought in. Our aim is not to turn over the max amount of clients within the shortest time to impress an out-of-state boss. Most people who see the huge change in lawyer marketing from out-of-state and some in-state lawyers consider it a form of ambulance chasing. We think the choice of a lawyer should not be based alone on name recognition but rather on conversations with friends and family and coworkers who knows from experience or has a friend who knows about a competent lawyer who is a problem solver and who is willing to dig in and put in the work to achieve a fair and oftentimes great result. Word of mouth, not name recognition or slogans, will likely lead you to the best lawyer to handle your unique case. Oftentimes the large firms competing for high volume and bonuses will simply send an investigator to your home to sign you up and you are not even "assigned" a lawyer until your case is ready to settle (in their opinion). There are also instances where clients are let go because it is discovered there is an issue that doesn't meet their guidelines. Recently I worked on a case that was signed up in her home by the investigator of one of the big name recognition advertisers and summarily dismissed with a letter a couple months later when it was discovered the client had had problems (that were well managed) at the same hip severely injured in a car collision. My guess is that a decision was made that the firm has enough clients coming in every day that this particular very nice lady was not worth the effort. She called me and I gladly agreed to help her. Because of the pre-existing issue I filed suit and settled in a matter of a few months after some preliminary depositions to establish the extent of the
aggravation and permanency. It took some work but my hand-me-down client was very satisfied with the result. My point: we put the interest of our clients first. This philosophy has resulted in our proudest achievement - our practice is thriving year after year with 97% of our clients made up of former clients or referrals (from former clients, attorneys, judges and even insurance adjusters and executives).
Our form of advocacy involves respect for the opposing side of every case. The legal profession should maintain the highest level of integrity and decorum. Maintaining a reputation for honest dealing is a top priority at this firm. Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers are decent people who are simply looking at issues (like the value of a case) from a different perspective. There has recently been a trend by some in our business to criticize and denigrate the adjusters and defense lawyers with vitriol and personal attacks. This firm will never adopt that type of strategy. We actively and aggressively advocate our position on issues but in a professional manner that respects the right of others to disagree. On rare occasions a jury is needed to resolve disputes. It is our belief that experience and skill and success in the courtroom help assure that insurance companies recognize the risk of failing to negotiate within the fair settlement range. The following is an excerpt from a district court judge following a
week-long jury trial.
"I wanted to thank you very much for your professionalism and courtesy during the recent trial ... (and) also wanted to congratulate you on a well tried case. You have an excellent presence and connection with jurors that serves you well. I also appreciate your very calm demeanor. I thought you did an excellent job."
Almost all clients would prefer to avoid the stress of a jury trial. In most successful plaintiff practices the vast majority of cases are settled without filing suit and without going to trial if a lawsuit had been filed. Once the insurance companies begin to see the correctness of the claim and the extent of their exposure in the upcoming trial the defense lawyers are often instructed to suggest mediation or outright settlement. The key is to prepare hard for the trial as if it is going the distance. It also helps that we have a reputation of going forward with the jury trial if needed.
All of these things and more gives us confidence that we know what and how to identify issues and resolve them. Having said that we are constantly learning and staying abreast of changes in the law and procedures. We have been told repeatedly by adjusters that they like working with our firm. There is no game playing and we provide information in a timely way with everything an adjuster needs to review our demands and get settlement authority.
My first personal injury claim occurred when I was a senior at Iowa Law School. I put all the evidence together involving a U of I student injured on campus and was one of the first claims made using the new State Torts Claim Act. The lawyer I was law clerking for trusted that I reviewed and understood the new law and also that I was able to articulate the demand and I remember him taking the two-inch thick document, turning to the back page where he signed his name. I sent the claim to the state and learned sometime later that a substantial amount was paid out to the young lady. At the time I was making $5.00 an hour as a law clerk and certainly not expected to bring business in, but none of that mattered. I was hooked. For the next 40 years personal injury cases have been my passion and I hope to keep going for years to come. I would welcome a chance to talk to potential new clients, give you my opinions and hopefully get a chance to enter into an Attorney-Client Contract with you and get to work. It is more than just an agreement to me - it is a bond of trust - a promise that I will give you the best I have and keep you advised fully along the way.