I graduated from the University of Texas when I was 19. I was the youngest person in my class, and frankly I was intimidated by all these smart guys from the Ivy League. So my first thought was I’m going to work at one of these big law firms that’s here on campus, and they are going to pay the most amount of money, and they defend companies and you know that’s supposed to be the most prestigious.
I just didn’t like it, so I wrote a letter to a lawyer who represented people. He said, “Look. You’re a law student. You don’t know anything. I’m not going to pay you. But if you want to follow me to court, you can see what I do.”
I loved it. I loved every minute of it. We went to court, sat with him in trial, we went to mediations. I loved seeing him on one side of the table and then saying eight of those corporate lawyers that I used to work for on the other side of the table. They said, “We’re not going to pay you this,” “We’re not going to do this.”
And he leaned back in his chair, and he says, “Well, how many cases have you tried? Because I’m very familiar, and I’ve tried a lot of cases here. And I’m thinking maybe you’re misjudging this case.” And sure enough, he was right, and he was right, and I remember the family hugging in the hallway.
And to see him do right for them against the company, I thought, “I never want to be on that other side of the table.” I enjoy knowing that the clients had put all of their trust in me to take care of them and do the right thing. It keeps you sharp. It keeps you focused. It keeps you thinking about the clients. First thing in the morning, last thing before you go to bed.
There’s nothing that motivates me more than when the company tells me that we can’t do something for our client. When you can win for your client and take care of that family for life, it’s the best feeling in the world. Your client is vindicated. You’re successful in bringing about the truth. Very rarely have I had a trial where after the verdict that the jury, once they got dismissed, didn’t come out and the first thing they do is went directly to the client and gave them a hug and said, “We hope this helps. We believe you. We’re sorry.”
It’s by far the greatest thing we do.