So a few years back, Trantolo & Trantolo plucked me out of law school and gave me my first job as an attorney and since then, I have been a plaintiff’s attorney. Even though I worked for a few defense firms and insurance companies during my time at the University of Connecticut’s School of Law, I’d say now my conversion to the plaintiff’s side of the law is nearly complete (that is a Return of the Jedi reference for the uninitiated). Throughout my education, whether it be the Jesuit process of discernment or the economic concept of opportunity cost, it has always been stressed to me that reflecting on one’s decisions is a practice someone should regularly employ to ensure the path you chose is truly the one you want to travel.
As with any law practice, the time to reflect regularly gets lost in the high paced demands of my career and now, a blog post, would be as good a time as any to write out my own reflections as a young plaintiff’s attorney.
In sum, I am satisfied with what I do.
Every day, I meet people who need my help. Every day, people who are hurting, people who are scared, some of whom are even desperate call me and ask for help. And every day, I do everything I can to help them. I help them navigate the Connecticut laws regarding torts, civil procedure, and insurance. On good days, I educate a client with some new insurance coverage they have not previously known or win a contentious motion on behalf of my client.
Now I do not want to give them impression that I think of myself as a selfless charity worker trying to solve world hunger. I do my job and it pays well. I am able to finance my rather large student debt and get to live fairly comfortably. At the same time, however, when I negotiate a great settlement, win a contentious verdict, or just have an ecstatic client tell me how satisfied they are, I get to have the satisfaction that I was able to help a person in dire need. On the other hand, if I had chosen to continue down the defense route I began while in law school, I am not so confident I would feel as satisfied if I successfully got a case dismissed or bullied a plaintiff to take a low settlement offer. I, of course, understand the need for defense attorneys and insurance adjusters to protect the integrity of the our societal systems, but such knowledge would be a cold comfort to me when compared to the smiles, hugs, and even tears some of my dearest clients share with me.