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As the daughter of a personal injury attorney, clips and quotes, which point a finger of blame at personal injury attorneys, offend me.

On, Jerry Lightfoot, who became involved in a lawsuit concerning his workplace, Orange County Building Materials, Inc., said the following.

"These lawyers are not ambulance chasers but they are certainly creating havoc in society today."

Consider a world without personal injury attorneys. There would be dangerous drugs on the market killing people. Unfair laws and legislature would still be in use. And if you were wrongfully injured, put in the hospital, and unable to work and provide for your family, you would simply have to “deal with it”. When I see clips that point the finger of blame at advocates like my father, whom I truly believe fights for justice everyday, I am stunned.

For example: cigarettes are in the process of being marketed under new FDA restrictions and guidelines because personal injury attorneys have exposed through lawsuits, the harm of cigarettes. Smokers should know in this day and age what they are doing to their bodies, because, lawsuits filed by advocates like my dad, brought the dangerous effects of cigarettes to light. Now we know the risks; children are prohibited from purchasing cigarettes, and warning labels exist. Drugs like Thalidomide, were taken off the market because attorneys like Doug Landau represented families living with children who had been born with birth defects because of a bad drug.

And consider this: My father does not get paid if he does not help the person. This is a broad statement, but what I really mean is that my father provides the funds needed to bring a case to trial. If he does not believe that the injured person has been significantly hurt at the cost of another person’s negligence, then he will not proceed with the claim. It would not only be unethical, it would be a bad investment.

When I was younger, my peers and even adults in my life contributed to the negative impression of lawyers that was etched into my mind. But I have learned what my father actually does, and I have met countless people he has helped. My own impressions have changed and matured. Not all lawyers are scary, brutal, money-loving worms. I know this because I have a front seat view watching my father fight for people who have been hurt, in accidents that weren’t their fault. He helps these people get the restitution they need, sometimes when nobody else is willing to do so.

Read more about Doug Landau’s work.


  1. Gravatar for Steve Lombardi

    Danielle: I like the way you put it. My father died from lung cancer, he was a cigarette smoker. I'm a trial lawyer and proud of it. You will find my series on Tort or Pork Reform complientary of your own point of view. In particular the recent post titled Part III: Tort Reform or Pork Reform? The under-belly of the "ATRA" and Big Tobacco tort reformers. Follow the link.

  2. Gravatar for Jane Akre


    Your words are very welcome. I don't think anyone has ever thought about it from the "child of an injury lawyer" point of view.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Danielle: I am constantly amazed by the public misperception of what trial lawyers do and who they are. Personalizing your Dad can only help. Safety and justice would be non-existent in this country without lawyers like your father. Your post is about "frivolous" lawsuits and you correctly point out the absurdity of filing one when you are being paid on a contingency fee basis. Tort reform, as your dad well knows, always seeks to cap damages. Why would we need to cap damages on lawsuits that are "frivololous", therefore, worthless? Your Dad will tell you that the tort-reformers are not really after "frivolous" lawsuits, it is, simply, their favorite buzz word to restrict the pursuit of justice for those who have serious lawsuits. Keep writing and speaking about this issue to anyone who will listen. "Frivolous" is the big lie about tort reform and your Dad is a hero for standing up to big business and big insurance. Give him a big hug when he gets home tonight (if he isn't working long hours at the office on behalf of an unfortunate client). Thanks for writing this thoughtful post.

  4. Gravatar for Doug Wessel


    Yours is a thoughtful essay on the pursuit of justice in today's world. The enemies of justice in today's world are not just the wrongdoers who everyday deny their responsibility. They are also the insurance companies who take the premiums from and insure the wrongdoers ... and then deny the wrong, embrace the wrongdoer and blame the victim and his attorney. Congratulations to you and your father for fighting against this rising tide of irresponsibility, falsehood and greed.

  5. Gravatar for Danielle Landau

    Thank you all so much for your feedback. And more specifically, I just posted a new blog entitled Frivolous Lawsuits: The Bad Guys, which responds to Doug Wessel's comment above. Thanks again for the responses!

    You may have to copy and paste the web address...

  6. Gravatar for James Cool

    Lawyers are like police, teachers, moguls, or any other group of people. There are some really good ones, some really bad ones, and a great many in between.

    I will never understand how America got bamboozled into believing that trial lawyers were the bad guys. Moreover, how in the world did we lose a battle of likeability against insurance and drug companies? How many "A Civil Action," "The Rainmaker" or "Silkwood" motion pictures must there be before the evil of irresponsible corporations is etched into our national consciousness.

    Danielle, I daresay the problem is that the only personal injury attorneys uninjured folks know are the scumbags on billboards. No wonder they don't think much of trial attorneys. This is what makes your perspective so valuable and your post so meaningful.

    Thanks for sharing and giving everyone a more human and real perspective.

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