Working in the legal profession has always been part of my family experience. My great great-grandfather was an immigrant from Ireland in the mid-1800s and read law books while cleaning a law office. He became the first of a long line of family attorneys. My father and grandfather were District Attorneys, and my other grandfather practiced business law. My brother is a real estate attorney.
I've been a Plaintiff attorney for injured parties for over 30 years. I consider myself to be a community attorney. My clients are primarily those who have suffered major injuries — most often spinal injuries or other serious injuries requiring surgery — or families who have suffered the death of a family member due to the negligence of others. Whether by jury, arbitration, mediation, or settlement requiring confidentiality, my success is measured by the awards I have earned for my clients. I have never had a defense verdict against me.
I first received my Bachelor of Arts, in Political Science, from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. Interested in a career as an international lawyer, I earned a Master of Arts in International Policy Studies in 1981 at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, focusing on South America. That same year I earned my JD degree from Hastings College of the Law. While I was a law student at Hastings, I was selected to be a member of the International & Comparative Law Journal, interned at the Court of Appeal for Judge Poche, worked at Public Advocates (an impact litigation law firm), and also worked at Farella, Braun & Martell (a defense insurance firm). It was those experiences during law school that inspired me to become a trial attorney.
I believe every client is entitled to excellent legal representation. My practice is divided into two types of cases — cases that are never filed with the courts and cases that are filed with the courts. The former are cases that are resolved with the insurance companies, often for the policy limit, and never need to be filed with the courts because my clients received fair compensation. The latter are the cases in which my clients do not receive a fair offer from the insurance companies and the only way I can obtain a fair recovery for them is to file a lawsuit and proceed to trial. Often insurance companies make a fair offer when faced with a jury trial and the evidence we proved after filing the lawsuit.
I have successfully represented clients injured in auto, big rig trucking and trailer, city bus, tourist bus, school van, agricultural vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. I have also successfully represented children, teenagers and adults in dog bite and wild animal cases as well as slip, trip, and fall cases, on private and commercial property, in city parks, at hotels, in shopping centers, in parking lots, and even at the beach.
My clients usually are referrals from former clients, other attorneys, former jurors, doctors and other medical providers, and even defense counsel and insurance company employees. Because I have practiced for such a long time, I have represented some clients multiple times. In one instance, I represented four different family members in four different types of accidents which occurred over 25 years - the grandfather, the parents, a daughter, and a son in law. All were injured by someone else's negligence — in car accidents, in a fall at a commercial site, and a pedestrian hit by a car.
Note Editor, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, 1980-1981. Extern, Justice Poche, California Court of Appeal, 1980-1981. Instructor on Remedies, Monterey College of Law, 1986-1987.