Some plaintiff's lawyers are "givers" and others are "takers." There are a fair number of givers, lawyers who step up to the plate time and time again to help advance the cause of civil justice in this state and nation. Some give knowledge, some give time, some give money, and some give all of the above - and each of us is indebted to every single one of them.
On the other hand there are "takers." These lawyers spend thousands of dollars every month advertising for clients but refuse to give money to support legislative efforts designed to support the rights of those clients. They are lawyers who make a good living representing plaintiffs but refuse to give time or money to support the state or national trial lawyers association. They are lawyers who constantly talk about their big settlements and their big cases but somehow never have the ability to write a check to help the cause. They are lawyers who ride around in $60,000 cars but refuse to give a political contribution to a pro-civil justice candidate. They are lawyers who seek the help of the association or its members when they are need, but turn away when asked to help. These men and women thrive off the efforts of others, giving nothing, taking whatever they can, and smiling all the way to the bank.
If you are a "giver," please keep giving. You already know that a rising tide lifts all boats and that our willingness to share advances the cause that we believe in with our heart and soul. If you are fortunate enough to have earned a good income as a result of your hard work as a plaintiff's lawyer, you should give serious consideration to support of AAJ through its Leaders Forum program. Your money will be used to help inform the public about the critical role that trial attorneys play in holding wrongdoers accountable for their actions and thus assist in reframing the debate about the civil justice system. The contribution is significant, a minimum of $1000 per month, but over 400 of the best lawyers and firms in the country step up to the plate every month and give extraordinary support to AAJ. You can sign up here.
If you have been a "taker," through neglect or by design, it is time to step up and do your fair share. Support your state and national association. Support those legislators on the state and national level who believe that justice should not be a hollow promise. Those of you who have been financially blessed in our profession should join Leader's Forum and do your fair share to advance the cause for your past, present and future clients.
A note to young lawyers: If you have been practicing 10 years or less, you almost certainly cannot make a contribution at the Leaders Forum level. Don't worry about it. Join your state association and AAJ and make financial contributions appropriate for your income. Donate your time to gather new members. Share your knowledge by speaking at seminars and writing articles. Support your association's political efforts. Work on your personal and professional financial security so that you will be in the position to give when your income increases. And, when and if you are fortunate enough to earn the amount of money that permits enhanced giving like that offered by the Leader's Forum program, sign up and do your fair share.
At this stage in your career, you probably lack the financial ability, and perhaps the expertise and experience, to handle catastrophic cases which require the investment of substantial time and money. If you determine you need to associate a lawyer who has the experience and the resources to help you in a case, I suggest you look first to those who contribute to Leaders Forum. Why? Because these lawyers are demonstrated givers, showing their willingness to contribute to AAJ to help your present and future clients while you are developing the financial wherewithal to do the same thing.
Here are the names of the law firms based in Tennessee which contribute to Leaders Forum, as set forth in the most recent Leaders Forum Directory:
- Berke, Berke & Berke - Chattanooga
- Gilreath & Associates - Knoxville
- Hill-Boren - Jackson
- Law Offices of John Day, P.C. - Nashville
In addition, there are at least two firms based in other states but with Tennessee offices which I know to be contributors. They are Hughes and Coleman and Lieff Cabraser.
You can see the names of Leaders Forum members in other states in your AAJ Directory. If you do not have a directory, please feel free to call or email me and I will be happy to identify the out-of-state firms who make an extraordinary contribution to the civil justice system through the Leaders Forum program.