Monday morning I checked my email just like I would any other day, when I saw an email from a former client’s (I’ll call him “Mr. M”) grandson telling me that Mr. M had passed. Mr. M was one of my first client’s and my first insurance case. Although we had fifty years between our ages, we developed a friendship that lasted to the present. We spent time talking about airplanes, his love for bowling and his grandson, my family, my practice, and he often offered me advice ranging from investments to love. Even after the case, we would call each other to check in and he always encouraged me to keep growing my business.
During the case, he could not travel easily so I spent many days at his house an hour away learning the impact of the insurance denial on his life. Going over intimate details in his life and seeing his frustration and anger over the injustice of the insurance denial empowered me. I will never forget when he turned to the defense attorney after his deposition and asked “How many of these do you do? How many people are out there like me?” The defense attorney had no words, no explanation. They had met their match in the 5’5″, 115 pound Mr. M.
After seeing the email on Monday, I spent some time reflecting on Mr. M, his case, and the great satisfaction I felt when the case resolved so favorably for him. It went beyond the money, he felt validated. In his own words, he wanted the insurance company to feel it and I think about what they did to him so others wouldn’t have to go through what he did. I pulled out the cards Mr. M had sent me over the last year and prayed that he got at least one last chance to bowl.
Reflecting on my relationship with Mr. M reminded me that putting in a little extra effort and getting to know your client is worth every bit. How can you tell the jury or a weathered adjuster how your client’s injury devastated their life if you do not know your client’s life? In remembrance of Mr. M and to increase my effectiveness as a plaintiff’s attorney, I will continue to get to know each of my client’s.
We’re given a great responsibility as personal injury attorneys. My clients and their families have put their trust in me at a vulnerable point in their lives. This should not be taken lightly and although it is my job, I do not want to forget the importance of what I’m doing. It reminds me of the quote by Dr. Suess: “To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” I am my client’s sole advocate in their struggle and I promise to live up to the trust placed in me.