Who will Stand Up?

By Joel Robbins
On September 23, 2014

In England historically during the 1600’s, the King gathered juries to do his bidding.  Judges, who were friendly to the King, could try and force a jury to do their bidding.  This is the story about one jury: The case against William Penn and William Mead in the late seventeenth century illustrated the importance of the jury and its rise to power within the judicial system. Penn and Mead were religious dissenters who were given to preaching in public. Around this time, Brits were so suspicious of King Charles II’s Catholic leanings that they passed laws against preaching in public. Penn and Mead were arrested, and opponents of the king sought to have Penn and Mead prosecuted and imprisoned, which would have embarrassed the king. The court impaneled a jury and, after both sides presented their case, they retired to…

Preparing for your Deposition

By Joel Robbins
On August 12, 2014

So you have to prepare for a deposition. Your attorney has called you into his office and is going to give you instructions. A deposition is both a positive and a negative. On the positive side, it gives you the opportunity to tell the other side what occurred. On the negative side, it gives the other attorney a chance to harass you, possibly confuse you, and will be recorded so that any errors that you make will be recorded, and will be able to be used at trial. In preparing for a deposition, it is important to keep both of these facts in mind.  Specifically, the preparation for a deposition is an important step in terms of telling a jury what has happened to you and what you know about it. There are four processes that one goes through during…

Why They Lie

By Joel Robbins
On April 9, 2014

Good lawyers find the truth.  I’m proud to be a lawyer and I’m proudest when our work uncovers something that was hidden by those who refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.  Here’s a great commentary on the positive contributions that lawyers make to the free enterprise system through lawsuits. >>return to main blog page

A Privilege

By Lawton Ledger Jackson
On September 10, 2013

It is a well-known fact that lawyers have a reputation for being unlikable. Look to any comic about attorneys, you will find sharks or grim white men in business suits representing “our kind.” There is a simple reason the general public views lawyers as cold blooded – law students are trained to leave their emotions at the door, and unfortunately, some lawyer forgot to pick them back up with their J.D. The first year of law school is equal parts education and indoctrination. The message is clear: drop your feelings off with your tuition check. Young lawyers-to-be are trained to be issue spotters. They teach us quickly that your affection for a sympathetic client will only cloud your judgment. As your client’s advocate, the way that you help the most is to quickly spot the legal issues, present the potential…

We’re Number Six

By Joel Robbins
On June 3, 2013

Our firm doesn’t publish substantial settlements or jury verdicts. Usually. However, as I was looking at the June 2013 Arizona Attorney magazine from the Arizona State Bar, on page 18, an article referred to a jury verdict from John Curtin as one of the top ten verdicts in the state this last year. It was the second highest verdict in a medical malpractice case. I was there for the many weeks of trial and the many months of preparation before trial.  John and his co-counsel, Roger Sharp and Bill Friedl, worked many late nights to identify all of the exhibits, write the motions prior to trial, and prepare for trial. Their love for the clients was obvious before, during and after the trial. Two young women who were left orphans when their father passed away due to medical negligence are now going…

A Valentine for a Lawyer

By John Curtin
On February 14, 2013

Today Sonia and Angel stopped by. Four years ago, a tiny little Spanish speaking grandmother came to our offices begging for help. Her daughter, Sonia, had suffered complications during delivery and had bled extensively. Now she was in a coma, her kidneys had failed and she had a raging infection. Worse, the next morning, the hospital was planning to send her to a public hospital — in Honduras. Sonia was in the USA legally, but in a refugee status that was not eligible for health care. She had lived and worked in the US for 17 years. She has six children, all citizens, including the new baby fighting for its life in the NICU (Angel). But since there was no one to pay for what looked to be permanent care, the hospital wanted to send her to a third world…

Lessons from Connecticut

By Joel Robbins
On December 21, 2012

On Friday, December 14, 2012, a troubled young man killed a classroom full of Kindergarten children. It seems incomprehensible that anyone could kill small children- kindergarteners capable of little more than sweetness. As our country sorts through the facts of the Connecticut slaughter, looking for some meaning, don’t you find yourself asking, “How could God let this happen?” I suppose the answer is that God did not let this happen; a person made this happen. God could no more prevent the young man in Connecticut from shooting than he could force another person to be good against their will. Man’s free will necessitates that God does not prevent man from acting badly. If God forced people to be only good, we couldn’t choose to be good. We could be no more than mindless robots, capable of doing no more than…

The legal thriller has been part of the American culture for decades, if not longer. CBS began broadcasting Perry Mason in 1957, a mainstay of its television arsenal during the early years of television, based upon Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels from the 1930s and 40s. To Kill A Mockingbird is both a literary and cinematic masterpiece. Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent in 1987 reinvigorated the literary genre. The patriarch of the legal thriller, John Grisham, has written:  “Though Americans distrust the profession as a whole, we have an insatiable appetite for stories about crimes, criminals, trials and all sorts of juicy lawyer stuff.” (“The Rise of the Legal Thriller: Why Lawyers are Throwing the Books at Us,” New York Times, Book Review Section, 33, Oct. 18, 1992). As Grisham notes, however, the genre has focused almost exclusively on criminal law and…

Personal Responsibility

By John Curtin
On June 5, 2012

Some people believe that trial lawyers do not believe that people should take personal responsibility for their lives and actions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trial lawyers are in the business of enforcing personal responsibility on people and businesses who try to avoid being held accountable for their conduct. The notion that trial lawyers are at war with the concept of “personal responsibility” comes from a warped concept of what that term means. These days, the person shouting “personal responsibility” the loudest, is all too often the person trying desperately to AVOID being held responsible. We hear the litany of “personal responsibility” from negligent doctors, careless drivers and irresponsible manufacturers. They say that people “ought to take personal responsibility for what happens to them.” This sounds good, but there is a subtle distortion in this statement which has…

Why Pink Underwear Matters

By Joel Robbins
On May 15, 2012

Sheriff Arpaio goes before a Houston audience. He tells them about why he has pink underwear in his jails. He goes through an explanation that his white underwear was being stolen from his famous jails, so he made it pink to prevent it from being stolen. Besides the obviousness of the lie, that inmates aren’t required to return all the clothes that they have been given by the jail, Sheriff Arpaio makes it clear that he knows that it is a lie.  He says that’s the “official” reason. “I always have an official reason so I can win the lawsuits and then I have my reasons.”[1] The audience laughs heartily. The “real” reason, the Sheriff goes on, is that the inmates hate pink. The audience chuckles at the prospect of the Sheriff tricking courts with a pretextual claim that underwear is…

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