How Being a Personal Injury Attorney Has Changed Me
Corey B. Friedman, Esq.
When I think back to the decade or so ago when I attended law school, I am completely convinced that there was nothing – no book, no lecture, no video, nothing – that could have prepared me to deal with the intense emotional toll required to be a personal injury attorney.
Day in and day out I work with clients that have experienced some of the worst pangs in life. In the cases that I deal with, It is not merely the loss of a loved one, but rather the sudden, unexpected, violent and perceivably avoidable loss of a mother, father, or child.
It is working with clients and those around them who are having to adapt to their new reality. It is working with clients who may never walk again, may never talk again, may never see again, and may never love again.
For most of us, we remain insulated from these experiences until they become part of our experience. Lots of people don’t understand what it is like to sit in a cold sterile hospital under institutionalized lighting waiting to hear from a Doctor about whether a loved one will “be okay.” Or, what it’s like to look at another human that you are so connected to lay helpless staring into the distance.
This profession requires us as advocates to reach out and protect our clients. To lift them up. To do everything we can to get them back to their normal. For some of them, we are their only hope. This profession has also taught me to be mindful and appreciative of what we have. To cherish those things that are often taken for granted.
Every time I get in a car, I can’t help but to think about my clients. Their experiences become my experiences. Because of this, when I speak with friends and family, I can’t help but to offer lessons learned in safety and precaution. This stems from a fundamental desire to protect those we love and is fortified by the experiences I dive into with my clients.
In this profession, there is so much tragedy and heartache that we live with, that we choose to live with and it takes a toll. We as the professionals are professional though we are also humans. We don’t just shut off emotion. This is not something that should be compartmentalized. We sometimes cry when we get off the phone with a client or their family. At times, we beat ourselves up wishing that the law was different, wishing that there was something, somehow, someway that more could have been done.
This profession changes you. It changes you as a human. And, because of that, you make different decisions in your personal life. For example, you adopt and adhere to political beliefs that are consistent with your human goals, not tax strategy. It causes you to know pain and loss. You continue to strive for empathy.
Though, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is no better feeling than being able to help someone who needs your help. There is no better feeling than being able to demonstrate to a jury or judge that my client is right and deserves recompense. And, there is no better feeling then being able to look your client in the eye and tell them “everything’s going to be okay.”