Good Lawyer Stories

Welcome to Good Lawyer Stories, a portion of our site dedicated to just that. Let’s face it: When someone says they have a “good lawyer story,” it’s usually not so good. Attorneys have a global negative perception that has resulted from and is fed by a skewed view of the profession – It’s time to turn that around.

Our mission is to offer a different perspective by sharing the many inspiring stories about lawyers who have gone way above and beyond in efforts help others, offering hope, support, and encouragement to those who need them.

The idea for Good Lawyer Stories was inspired by the amazing works of many attorneys, but specifically by the genesis of Trial Lawyers Care, which occurred post 9/11 in response to the World Trade Center Bombings. More than 1,100 “attorneys of mercy” volunteered from around the globe, providing pro bono representation to more than 1,700 families impacted by the disaster.

Good Lawyer Stories pays homage to every one of these attorneys, offering heartfelt thanks for their sacrifice and dedication. It also honors every individual and family whose lives were forever changed that day. Thank you – through our work showcasing the ongoing acts of everyday heroes, we pledge to keep yours alive.

Elizabeth Bryan, co-author, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings” and John Mittelman, plaintiff’s attorney.

Working together to make a difference, one “Good Lawyer Story” at a time.

Good Lawyer Stories

Keeping Education in Reach: Trial Lawyers Give Back in Louisiana

Each year, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) presents the Trial Lawyers Care Award to an exemplary AAJ member who serves the community and fosters positive relationships with the public through volunteer activities.

The 2017 honoree is attorney Jennifer Greene of New Orleans.

Jennifer Greene headshot

(Jennifer Greene, 2017 TLC Award Honoree)

In August 2016, devastating floods hit Louisiana, killing 15 people and displacing 30,000 others. All told, the state suffered losses of more than $10 Billion. Hardworking folks lost everything in the state’s worst disaster since Hurricane Katrina. Families watched as their belongings, including their children’s backpacks, literally floated out of reach.

In the immediate aftermath, attorney Jennifer Greene did not hesitate. She immediately began brainstorming with fellow attorneys about how to help. Replacing school supplies seemed important, and do-able. While families began the long process of rebuilding their homes and their lives, their children could at least be prepared to go back to school right away.

A colleague suggested the attorneys coordinate with Trial Lawyers Care. Once connected, they moved mountains in mere days.

Within two weeks, lawyers from across the country answered Jennifer’s call and a team of volunteers in New Orleans had unpacked and organized 800 boxes of school supplies and filled backpacks for hundreds of kids. Louisiana’s First Lady, Donna Edwards – herself a teacher – brought Jennifer’s volunteer effort together with Team Comeback Kids to get the backpacks distributed.

Every child who received one of Jennifer’s backpacks surely had a little bit easier time getting back to the normalcy of life.

 classroomflood(Flooding of schools in Louisiana, 2016)

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(School supply donations from trial lawyers over the course of two weeks)

Posted on July 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm in Charitable Foundations, Community Outreach, Disaster Relief, General, Good Lawyer Stories by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

A Lawyer’s Job is to Help: Pickert is Jacksonville Lawyer of the Year

Alan Pickert, longtime partner at Terrell Hogan and AAJ member, is 2017’s Lawyer of the Year in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jacksonville Bar Association (JBA) and Daily Record chose Mr. Pickert as this year’s honoree, out of 2200 lawyers, because of his efforts both inside and outside of the courtroom. Pickert has been practicing law for 27 years, handling a wide range of personal injury cases for his firm.

He first became involved with JBA more than 20 years ago when he volunteered to join their work with the Special Olympics. Over the next two decades, Pickert became increasingly involved with both the JBA – joining their Young Lawyers Section, then the Board of Governors, eventually serving as president of the association – and with JBA’s philanthropic activities. JBA is heavily involved in the Jacksonville community. In addition to supporting the Special Olympics, the association is involved in projects ranging from aiding foster children to providing legal aid for the homeless to making it easier for Jacksonville kids to read classic literature.

Outside of JBA, Pickert is heavily involved with a nonprofit organization known as the HEAL Foundation which seeks to inspire, educate, and fund services for those affected by autism. In 2003, Pickert began representing clients with autistic children and soon became aware of the lack of programs available in the area for autistic children and families. Pickert, and a group of other determined individuals, helped create HEAL (an acronym for Heal Every Autistic Life) to fill that niche.

HEAL started as a small organization, but has grown to create an enormous impact within its community. The foundation’s first fundraiser earned just $400 net; over the past 10 years, it has raised almost $2 million. Fundraising efforts support summer camps, sports leagues, support groups, and educational seminars. The foundation also supplies iPads to aid in the education of non-verbal students and service dogs for those with special sensory needs.

Pickert has encouraged his own four children to get involved with the organization as well. He explained, “Helping the community has an altruistic effect, but also gives you great perspective in life – there is a big world out there.”

For lawyers, Pickert argues a different reason why they should get more involved in their communities and organizations like HEAL. “A lawyer’s job is to help people.” If a client contacts a lawyer, it is because he or she needs help in some way. “Volunteering is just taking what lawyers do in the office every day and extending it to the rest of the world.”

Learn more about HEAL at www.healautismnow.org and keep reading the Trial Lawyers Care website for information on other volunteer opportunities.

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 8:26 pm in Charitable Foundations, Community Outreach, General, Good Lawyer Stories by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0

Standing Up for Warriors

Trial Lawyers for Warriors is a nonprofit organization that assists U.S. special forces, including Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Green Berets, and Army Rangers — as well as other military personnel. P. Craig Morrow, senior partner at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett, & Haik in Opelousas, La., founded the organization.

Initially, he simply wanted to take some special operations personnel hunting and fishing with him to give them a break.

Morrow still takes military personnel hunting and fishing, but he also represents them pro bono and helps them and their families in other ways — such as buying plane tickets so that family members can be with their wounded warrior at a hospital.

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Now called the “Legal SEAL” by some special ops personnel, Morrow gained some clout when he stuck up for veterans at a town hall meeting about the Gulf Coast oil spill. Some veterans asked Morrow to attend, and he saw how they were being mistreated. “I almost didn’t stand up,” he said, but then he decided he needed to speak up. “I grilled this BP rep, and I got a standing ovation.”

Morrow has helped members of the military in various ways, including stopping predatory lenders from taking advantage of military personnel while they were away at war in Iraq and Afghanistan because they couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer; helping someone get his Purple Heart; defending a Marine who was falsely accused of a crime in Afghanistan; and drafting legal LLC documents to help people start their own companies.

“I felt that if these warriors were willing to sacrifice their lives and fight for our freedoms on the battlefield, then why shouldn’t I use my unique legal skills and help them in the legal battlefield we call the courtroom?” Morrow said. “I feel that trial lawyers have a unique skill set that we can and should use to protect and defend the warriors who protect and defend our way of life in America.”

Morrow represents some of the SEALs portrayed in the movies Lone Survivor and American Sniper. “They trust me, and I will say it was difficult at first because of the false propaganda spewed against our profession as trial lawyers,” Morrow said. “And I have personally witnessed a complete turnaround from countless military warriors that are now defending trial lawyers through social media.”

Morrow sees this chance to fight negative lawyer stereotypes as a secondary benefit of his efforts. “Trial Lawyers are in a helping profession, and, in my opinion, it is time to turn the tables and demonstrate that we are the good guys and not the people that our critics make us out to be.”

Trial Lawyers for Warriors has also collaborated with the organization Suiting Warriors to give veterans suits to wear to their first job interviews. “I was amazed at how almost none of our veterans had a nice suit to wear to a job interview,” Morrow said. “Who do you know that has more suits than trial lawyers?!”

“Founding Trial Lawyers for Warriors has given me an enormous sense of pride and inner peace in knowing that I am helping those who protect and defend our very freedoms — including the practice of law,” Morrow said.

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Learn more about this organization at www.triallawyersforwarriors.org.

Posted on June 26, 2017 at 4:46 pm in Charitable Foundations, Community Outreach, General, Good Lawyer Stories, Pro Bono by Marie D'Avignon - RSS 2.0