What is a superhero? Someone who fights for justice, protects the public, rights wrongs, and who is willing to take on the most powerful enemies who harm our citizens.
Russ Herman, Chris Seeger, Judy Livingston, Brian Panish, Roxanne Conlin, Marc Grossman, Mark Lanier, Elizabeth Cabreser, Tom Moore, John Morgan, and Perry Weitz are just a few modern day superheroes who happen to be our nation’s last great hope. Their names may be unfamiliar to you but each and every day these men and women protect the public. They tirelessly pursue justice for those who cannot fight on their own.
They are lawyers, trial lawyers, legends in their fields. Unlike corporate attorneys, they are not paid on an hourly basis. They take cases on contingency and get paid only if and when their clients win. Often, they invest millions of dollars to help victims, and recover nothing, except for the satisfaction of knowing that in the future a corporation will think harder before selling a harmful product.
Trial attorneys fight on an uneven playing field; time and money are on the side of the insurance companies and corporations. The general public doesn’t always appreciate them as much as they should and trial attorneys get maligned in the press with half-truths and blatant lies (See the movie Hot Coffee).
When a drug company sells a harmful drug it knows to be dangerous, the general public – you and your friends and relatives– can suffer serious injury, strokes, heart attacks, and even death. The only way the public can fight is by calling a trial lawyer. The trial attorney pays for case expenses with his or her own after-tax dollars, and waits years, withstanding delay after delay, so that those wronged can have their day in court, and then and only then, after much effort, money, and time, do we get a chance to right the wrong.
One of my closest friend’s son was badly burned in an effort to save his friend’s life. His friend was burned by a product the manufacturer and department store who sold it knew was defective. For the sake of profits, they refused to take it off the shelf. The two boys were lucky to be represented by the great Tom Moore. It took five years, and surviving countless frivolous motions, for the boys to finally be compensated, enabling them to pay their extensive bills and giving them hope for the future. Between the two of them they had over 25 surgeries.
Whether it’s big tobacco or the Chinese government, negligence of so many has harmed many American citizens. These men and women, the trial bar, stand alone, saying, “you will be held accountable for what you‘ve done.” In so doing, they make our country safer
When you watch a careless health care provider, negligent nursing home or a drunk driver injure one of your own, you need someone to fight. It takes skill, perseverance and money just to get in the courtroom. Then one of the great bastions of democracy gives all Americans the right to fight for what is fair, through our juror system. The jury has the ability to do what the public, the judiciary, and even the President of the United States can’t.
No matter how difficult the rules make it to get there—the chambers of commerce, big business, and insurance companies are always lobbying and fighting to make it harder to be held accountable– our heroes keep fighting. When they get to the jury, if necessary, it is time for a jury of peers to decide what is right and fair. Big business has money, influence, and public relations machines to help ensure that they are not held accountable.
But when Russ Herman, Tom Moore, Chris Seeger, Judy Livingston, Brian Panish, and Mark Lanier go in front of the jury, the advantage disappears. Then, some of the greatest orators of our time fight not only for their clients, but the safety of every American.
No one needs a hero until they or a loved one become victims but these lawyers should be thanked every day for changing policies, and holding negligent companies and individuals accountable for their actions. I have only mentioned a few attorneys, but there are so many great ones in our country, too many to mention. Their collective effort makes all of America a safer place.
Some of these attorneys are very well compensated. But they don’t do it for the money.
They do it because they care, and because they believe in what they’re doing. It’s not about the money. It’s about the people they are helping. If you know a mass tort attorney, personal injury lawyer, worker’s compensation attorney, disability lawyer, or a representative fighting for the rights of the disabled, injured, or disenfranchised, thank them.
You may think I’m exaggerating about the importance of the trial bar. Consider just a few of the safeguards they’ve helped put in place for the public:
The above list doesn’t even scratch the surface. In our diffuse, complex, and fragmented society, trial attorneys across the country really are the voice of the people.
If you agree, please share this article, as a gesture of thanks to our superheroes.