When you’re a personal injury lawyer, you need lawyer-friends to bounce ideas off of, friends who will listen, critique you, play devil’s advocate, and just plain tell you when you are wrong. This profession is more of an art than a science, and to get it right, you need feedback, advice, and sometimes just a pep talk.
Here’s a good example of a case you need friends on, one of the toughest my career. The case was full of legal and factual intricacies that befuddled and confounded not only the lawyers, but judges and their clerks. The trial judge at one point dismissed the case because he felt it was not “actionable” (the law did not allow it), but I appealed, the appellate court agreed with me, and allowed the case to stand, even though it was the first of its kind to be brought (you can read the decision here).
Then the trial judge dismissed another piece of the case, and I again appealed, and again the appellate court ruled in my favor, though a dissenting justice would have affirmed the trial judge (you can read the decision here).
Meanwhile, the four sets of defense attorneys working against me kept bringing “motions” (legal requests to the judge) to my detriment that I had to fend off. By the time we got to trial this past Monday, I had been working on the case for SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS! Do you think I might have reached out to a few lawyer friends for advice and feedback during those seven and a half years? You betcha.
There was one lawyer in particular I often reached out to on this case (and other cases). He was “there” for me every inch of the way. In fact, he had been my main confident ever since I first got out of law school. He always had time to listen, and to counsel, and usually for a joke or two. Whenever I got a big win, he would be thrilled for me. Whenever I suffered a loss, he would console me. I trusted him like no one else. He was a great lawyer, a great friend, and a great man.
On February 11, that lawyer, my brother Frank Bersani, suddenly died. He was only 57 years young, not even a year older than me.
On Monday, my seven-and-a-half year case settled, favorably, as I was about to pick a jury. On my way back to the office, I picked up my phone to call Frank to tell him the good news.
Then I put it down.
Not having Frank to call about my cases will take some getting used to . . .
Appreciate the friends, and brothers, who help you along the path of life, and don’t forget to tell them once in a while how much they mean to you.
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