Having returned from the funeral of a dear friend in Richmond, I am reminded by the time I spent with her in her last months of life of the importance (and scarcity) of courage in today’s society. As pointed out by Reverend Brown of the Fifth Baptist Church in Richmond, this woman had courage up to the very end of her life. Courage is a characteristic a trial lawyer must have. Attorneys who are afraid to go to court are doing their clients a disservice. If they are afraid to ask tough questions or to tell the hard truth, they should not hold themselves out as "personal injury trial lawyers" and mislead the public.
Likewise, it seems to me that honor and education are also important if one is going to counsel people after a loss, a spinal cord injury or during disability. Honor is not only the honor for oneself, but the honor they bestow on others. Whether attending the funeral, wedding, naming, bris, quincienera, baptism, bat/bar mitzvah, graduation or other important life event, like "breaking bread" in a friend’s home, attendance and active participation in these celebrations is a point of honor that many people fail to grasp and comprehend. One of the ways we honor our clients (and show our courage) at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., is by having other clients, their family members, neighbors and witnesses attend other trials, hearings and public events BEFORE their "day in court." We know of no other lawyer or law firm anywhere in the United States of America that is brave enough to do this. We also show them honor, as most cases are tried "in secret" even though most court trials are "open to the public." We demonstrate by word AND deed that our clients’ cases are important. Their losses and the harms they have suffered are real, and that other people (and their legal counsel) do care.
In addition to courage and honor, a good trial lawyer should not only be highly educated, but have a strong sense of intellectual curiosity. Education is of paramount importance in the Abrams Landau family. Lifelong learning is a hallmark of ours. My father, Norman Landau, even when renowned as one of the greatest lawyers in the country, kept teaching, attending "Continuing Legal Education" ("CLE") programs and Lifelong Learning classes at Columbia University. My mother and stepfather, even with their post-graduate degrees, still attend those classes and others at local colleges. One should never stop learning, reading, experiencing and growing. While the Virginia Bar requires only 9 hours of mandatory CLE each year, I have routinely earned multiples of that minimum requirement by my attendance, participation and teaching at CLE programs all over the Commonwealth and the United States. Beware the lawyer who takes the minimum CLE or whose learning has "stagnated" or who does not support the best education for those around them. I have no respect for such people. At ABRAMS LANDAU, every staff member attends CLE and other programs so as to learn about the latest developments in law, medicine, government programs and technology. Wherever in the country you may reside, the attributes that make for a great trial lawyer (and a great person of any kind) should be considered. Before you select a lawyer for yourself or someone you care about, make sure they have courage, honor and intellectual curiosity. Here are three questions to ask:
1. Do they have the courage to try my case ? (If so, can I see them try another case before mine ?)
2. Do they have the commitment to stay on top of changes in the law and do they teach other lawyers ? (If so, can I see them teach, speak or participate in a Continuing Legal Education or other law program ?)
3. Are they a person of honor ? (Do they honor others and are they themselves held in the highest esteem by those within and without the legal community ?)