In 1973, I was offered a position with a firm which handled plaintiff’s personal injury cases. I have been privileged to continue representing individuals who have been injured, through no fault of their own, and assist them in receiving compensation for their injuries for the past 40 years.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
Personal injury attorneys in today’s climate must be more selective in the cases they pursue due to the increased costs of discovery and trial and the realization that today’s verdicts, in most cases, are not what they were 10 or 15 years ago.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Always place your client’s interest first, keep them informed as to what is taking place now and as the case progresses, and never forget the client is the PERSON in the personal injury claim. Last, but again very important, be courteous to opposing counsel and show proper respect to the Court, the bailiffs, deputy clerks and court reporters who do so much to assist us when we are “in court.”
Technology is rapidly changing the practice of law; what is the one technological device you could not function without daily?
With the advent of e-filing and expansion of the Internet along with the treasure trove of knowledge it offers — the computer. Also, a tech-savvy assistant!
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
As I began the practice of law, I had the good fortune of joining a trial firm. My senior partners and the judges before whom we appeared were true mentors. They taught me the value of hard work, dedication to the practice, respect for the Court and my opponent, and that “my word would be my bond.” Above all, they encouraged me to treat everyone with respect, as that is how I would be judged by others.
What do you do for fun?
I love to be outside for a run, tennis, working in the yard or just a long walk. . . . It is my true therapy! But this is something else, and that is giving back to the community, the church, your law school and the bar. Each of them has done so much in the past to get us where we are today and allowed us to practice in this great profession.
Terrence O’Leary is a personal injury attorney at Bosslet & O’Leary, located in Granite City, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri.