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The Dangers of Getting Jobs Through Friends
published February 03, 2014
"Arguing in front of the Missouri Supreme Court. Every law student is required to make an oral argument for a grade. The school has a program in which the top six oralists in moot court make their appellate arguments to a 3-judge panel at the MO Supreme Court. First of all, its just a tremendous honor and an incredible program that the law school, and the judges, provide. On mine, I'll never forget the comments from the Judges. Two judges were very complimentary, let me just say that. The third judge looked over at the other two and said, 'Some may have liked your style….' Then, he looked back at me, and said, 'I did not.' I can laugh about it now, but at the time I felt like I was about to puke on the only suit I owned."
"I like sports, but I wouldn't all myself a big sports fan, in terms of watching all of any specific team's games. I keep up to speed on Mizzou's football and basketball teams. And then, I'm more a fan of the end of the sports season than I am of any single team. I like watching March Madness. And I really like watching the NBA and NFL play-offs, because you're watching the best athletes - the best at what they do -- and you're about to see who among them can really dial it in when it counts. It's like watching an ESPN Classic Game; it doesn't really matter what the sport is, you know you're about to see something great go down."
"As a kid, I looked up to lawyers and had respect for them as communicators. I've always been a pretty logical thinker - and not so good at some other things -- so the law appeals to my skill set. If I had to rely on my abilities as a mechanic or carpenter, I'd probably be destitute."
"The best part of the job is helping people, making a difference in their lives. I try to keep in mind how important each client's case is to him or her. While I tell every client to live his life like there is no lawsuit, I also try to think of each client's case, at least in terms of the way I handle myself, as if it's the most important thing in my client's life. If I remember that, I feel I'll fulfill my obligations to them. It's a great honor to have folks put these things in your hands and believe in you - but it's also a great responsibility."
"If I could change wrongful death law in our state, I'd eliminate caps in medical cases. Generally, the caps disproportionately affect those who are most in need of protection; they make it difficult to bring a case for the old, young and poor. They're expensive cases to bring, and they're difficult, because people give Drs the benefit of the doubt, which oftentimes they deserve, but sometimes they don't. Given the expense and difficulty, if you have caps on non-economic damages, you can't bring a case and make it come out for a low wage earner, even if there is clear malpractice, because once you pay fees and the large amount of expenses, there's nothing left. It isn't the justice that people deserve, particularly the poor. "
"Yeah, my boss Steve Garner. He's the best trial lawyer I've ever seen. And quite honestly, he continues to amaze me even after I've seen him in action for the past 12 years - as a law student, as his associate, and as his partner. He's taught me most of what I know in the law and has had an incredible influence on the way I practice. I think he does things the right way and for the right reasons, and I really appreciate that influence on me."
"Nobody does it all on their own. I've been given a lot of great opportunities professionally to succeed. Even back to when I was in law school, Steve took me to Florida on a products liability case for a month and let me watch. And paid me to do it. In the end, it was part of his training program for me. Its just an example of the opportunities he's given me, so I develop to be the best lawyer I can be."
"I've also had defense lawyers who've asked me to speak to their clients and I've spoken to companies about safety issues in their industry and the holes in safety that I look for when analyzing a case - hopefully, to make the companies operate in a safer manner. Its probably not good for business, but I've never met a client who would choose the money over their health; so if I can help make a company safer, which eliminates events that injure people, I think that's part of my job."
"It was an odd case, not one you typically see. The standard to win was high - basically, proving reckless, near-punitive conduct, but fortunately, we were able to help our client and get a good result - one that has changed his life. He and his wife were good people, who deserved it, too. When he came to us, he was practicing in another state. He said he had contacted over 200 lawyers who had turned his case down, before he got to us. Which, honestly, made me think, 'we must be crazy for taking this on'. But, the doctor was persistent. And, he was right, and the facts were on his side. In the end, we recovered $9.9 million for him."
"Its nice to be recognized. But the honors aren't as important as the client letters with thanks for helping make their lives better. I think I've always been more interested in achievement than accolades; and more interested in influence than income. I feel that if I take care of my clients, try to achieve for them the best results possible, and do what I need to do, the other stuff comes as a result."
"Personally, I want to provide for my family. I want my wife and family to be proud of me and what I do. I want my girls to look at me and know that I was there to encourage them and provide them the opportunities to fulfill all their dreams. I want my family to look at me and know I always tried to do what's right; that I stood up for people who couldn't stand up for themselves; that I was an ethical and just person; and hopefully, that I was fun to be around."
Pro Bono Work in Law
Polsinelli Shughart PC