When I graduated from law school, I had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice. I liked criminal law, real estate law, wills and trust, civil law, personal injury law and I liked being in the courtroom. But most of all, I really liked helping people.
I spent much of my time in law school working different part time legal jobs, internships and volunteering at legal aid clinics and innocence clinics. I enjoyed the work and liked much of what I experienced. But I still had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice.
Like many other lawyers who graduate from law school and pass the bar, I began working at a small local firm. It didn’t take me long to realize this was not a good fit for me While working there, I searched for and interviewed for several attorney positions, it became obvious that none of the positions open were a good fit for me either. So, I decided to open my own law office.
I only had about one and half years’ experience as an attorney at that time, no office equipment, no office furniture, no office phone, no other attorneys available to help or guide me and very little money. Sounded like a great idea!
By chance, my husband and I owned a building next to our home that had been rented out for years to another tenant who had recently moved out. It was a small metal building that was just one big open space on the inside. No walls, no flooring and in desperate need of cleaning, painting and updating. Perfect!
I spent that first year taking any case I could find. I met clients in restaurants, coffee shops and even in the library. I put every cent I made into turning that little metal building into my law office. It took several months to get it to the point I could invite clients in, but the wait was worth it. I was still taking any client that contacted me, and unfortunately, I still had not found the right law for me.
It was about that time that my Dad suffered a traumatic brain injury. He sitting in a chair at a business when a huge piece of scaffolding fell on his head, knocked him unconscious and he fell to the floor. My Mom immediately contacted me for help with a settlement and medical treatment, but the case was in Oklahoma and I was not licensed there. The attorney they found to help them was absolutely terrible! He refused to return calls, update them on their case or meet with them. Each call to their attorney was worse than the last and his staff was also incredibly rude. My Mom begged me to call their attorney to get information, but the attorney and his staff treated me the same way and would state there was no update on the case and no other info was given. In the meantime, my Dad’s neurologist said it was the worst brain injury he had ever seen in his twenty plus year career. His medical bills were in the tens of thousands and his diagnosis was that there was not much that could be done to improve his condition.
At some point, my parent’s attorney contacted to tell them about a court date, didn’t tell them what it was about or what was going on. Absolutely no information about their personal injury law case was given to them. My parents made the drive to Oklahoma and it was in the courtroom, with the judge, all the attorneys for the business, court clerk, court reporter, bailiff, my parent’s attorney and their attorneys (five of them) that my parents learned for the very first time that the case was being dismissed!!!
Why you ask?? Because their attorney missed the filing deadline by three days. My parents left the courtroom still owing thousands in medical bills that they can’t pay and no money to help them pay it. But most of all, they left the courtroom with no explanation and no apology from anyone. Ever!!
How could this happen? Why did this happen? Not only did their personal injury law attorney treat them with no respect during their entire case but lied to them about documents being filed on time, failed to keep them informed about their case and hearings, failed to explain their case to them, and left them with no money for medical bills. I was powerless to help them with their personal injury law settlement and I was still powerless to help them against an attorney who had let them down.
It was then that I began looking into their personal injury law case, I researched, contacted other attorneys, read blogs and read any and all material I could find to help them with their case. I still could not represent them because I was still only licensed in Texas, but I helped them interview new attorneys to file a lawsuit against the first attorney for malpractice and pursue criminal charges. I learned all I could about personal injury law, insurance, liability, fault and settlement offers, and negotiation. I had finally found the law for me, Personal Injury Law. Fighting for people’s rights when they are hurt or injured was the best way, as an attorney, to truly help people. People who go up against big insurance companies or even unprofessional, rude and unhelpful attorneys. People who don’t understand what happens when your get injured. People who don’t understand the required paperwork or deadlines. People who don’t understand how to read an insurance policies or how to find out the limits of the policy. People who are treated badly by other personal injury law attorneys. And, people who are injured, like my Dad, who just need money for much needed medical treatment. People who need to focus on their medical treatment and not dealing with the personal injury law claim or lawsuit. Personal injury law had become and still is my love of the law. It is what I am meant to do.
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