The Daily

Why I’m A Trial Lawyer (No. 2)


I used to sit for hours with my Uncle Reed talking about history, particularly the American Civil War. We shared a passion for that part of our lore. We’d review the characters, the political developments of that day and of course the battles. As lawyers, we tended to gravitate always back to Lincoln (the Sun in that universe of our time): always back to the complex mass of energy that was Lincoln’s mind; the momentous decisions he faced; and, the human grace and intellect with which he made those decisions.

Before the war, Lincoln was involved in the Effie Afton case in Chicago concerning a steamship accident on a railroad bridge spanning the Mississippi. The case pitted River interests against the Railroad and became a celebrated cause for the westward movement of the Country. As part of the Railroad defense team, Lincoln visited the bridge site, sat on the bridge watching the currents and spoke to the engineer and his family in detail about the circumstances of navigation around the bridge. His detailed understanding of the facts resulted in his selection as the lawyer to make the closing argument, which he did with precision and persuasion, using a model of the ship, details about mechanical failures of the steamship’s rudder, the history of other ship’s safe navigation of the bridge and specifics of the currents that pushed the malfunctioned ship into the bridge – none the fault of the Railroad as he argued successfully.

I was still in high school when my Father taught me how to read a medical record so that I could help him review cases. That fundamental lesson – repeated countless times over the course of my career – continues to benefit my clients. There is no substitute for diligence in preparation and understanding the particular facts of a case and almost every personal injury case requires a comprehensive knowledge of medicine and medical records in order to achieve success.

Dozens – if not hundreds – of decisions concerning your case can make the difference. Make sure your lawyer has the backround, experience and comprehensive knowledge necessary to achieve success for YOU.