Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer

Hiring a personal injury lawyer requires the fulfillment of certain factors. This is necessary to ensure the outcomes of the case.

What Is Personal Injury?

In a neglect case battle, personal injury is a term that is used to define any harm that is caused to an individual. This can include broken bones, cuts, contusion or basically any bodily damage. It is also used to define any incursion of a personal right, inclusive of mental anguish and counterfeit incarceration. There is a high chance that in the case of an injury, the attorney would be able to secure far more damages than an individual on his own. On the other hand, the field itself is of a specialization and only certain attorneys are capable of managing these cases. For instance, a corporate attorney whose specialization is corporate law might not be able to handle a case of personal injury.

Choosing A Personal Injury Lawyer

Here it is necessary to note that certain circumstances need to be taken into consideration when choosing a personal injury lawyer. Even though the fact remains that all attorneys attend law schools and have to pass the bar exam, but this in no way qualifies them to fight a case of personal injury.

The factors that should be taken into consideration are:

– The time period of the attorneys practice

– Whether he or she has experience in a similar case

– His previous record

– Whether he or she is ready to take a case on contingency basis as well as the resources he/she has

Victims of personal injury who have a strong case at not have to pay any out of pocket expenses. Any legal representative would be ready to deal with such a case on a contingency basis. By contingency basis it is meant that all expenses that occur during the trial are the responsibility of the attorney and he or she would take his fee as a fixed percentage from the recovery that he attains. Usually, the percentage lies between 1/3 to ½ of the damages that had been caused.

Hence, personal injury lawyers should be hired on the basis of the aforementioned factors. They deal with personal injury cases on the bases of contingency.

Drive: Tapping Into Lawyers’ Intrinsic Motivation

Daniel H. Pink’s 2009 book entitled “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” (“Drive”) is filled with information that is highly relevant to the legal profession today.

The central thrust of Drive is that motivating professionals like lawyers requires law firms to go beyond the traditional use of sticks and carrots, punishments and rewards. Pink argues that instead of focusing on these external motivators, what law firms need to do is tap into the intrinsic motivational drive of their lawyers. This will result in more engaging and ultimately more satisfying work. Pink argues that this will not only reduce lawyer turnover and burnout, but that it is in fact the secret to high performance.

Pink highlights three key aspects of work that make it more inherently satisfying: (i) autonomy; (ii) mastery; and (iii) purpose. He argues that these components of intrinsic motivation are interdependent and mutually reinforcing – that, like the legs of a tripod, the apparatus of excellence cannot stand without each component in place.

If there is any merit to Pink’s argument, then law firms would be well advised to pay careful attention to each of the three components of intrinsic motivation in their human resource strategies. Here are some ideas on how to do so:

(i) Autonomy: There are five main ways firms can increase their lawyers’ overall sense of autonomy. These include giving lawyers greater leeway over: (i) what to work on (subject autonomy); (ii) when to do their work (time autonomy); (iii) where to do their work (place autonomy); (iv) who to do their work with (team autonomy); and (v) how to do their work (technique autonomy). The idea here is not that firms have to grant their lawyers full autonomy over all aspects of their work. It is simply that law firms have at their disposal five separate channels along which to promote greater lawyer autonomy, and that an increase in autonomy along any one of these five channels will result in a higher level of work satisfaction.

(ii) Mastery: Law firms can promote lawyer mastery by aligning the difficulty of certain tasks with their lawyers’ overall level of skill or development. Pink calls these “Goldilocks tasks” – tasks that are neither too hard nor too difficult. The idea is that in order to develop mastery it is important for lawyers to be engaged; and in order to be engaged they must be presented with challenges that are well suited to their skill level. Tasks that are too challenging result in a sense of being overwhelmed; tasks that are too easy result in boredom; tasks that are neither too hard nor too easy, but “just right” result in engagement. Engagement, in turn, leads to mastery. Law firms that care about developing masterful lawyers should ensure that they are neither overwhelmed nor bored – that overall they are engaged by their work. If firms are able to strike this balance, their lawyers’ work becomes its own reward.

(iii) Purpose: To make their lawyers’ work more satisfying, law firms would also do well to consider increasing the emphasis they place on meaningful, not just profitable, work – that is, work that gives their lawyers a sense that they are making a positive contribution to something greater than themselves. This does not mean rejecting profit as a motive; it simply means making greater room for non-profit driven contributions. This might mean crafting a mission or vision statement that espouses genuine non-profit related values, and ensuring that incoming lawyers share those values. It might also mean placing greater emphasis on pro bono work, and perhaps including it as part of performance reviews. It might even mean hiring professional coaches to work with their lawyers. Whatever the approach, taking steps to instill a greater sense of purpose into the work life of many lawyers will ultimately make them more committed, creative, resourceful, and yes: satisfied.

It is no secret that lawyers are, in general, a notoriously unhappy lot. It is also clear that lawyers are the most important resource of any law firm. Firms that value this resource would be well advised to take seriously the ideas put forth in Drive. In the end, when lawyers are satisfied with their work, everyone stands to win – not just the lawyers themselves, but their colleagues, their firms, and most importantly their clients.

Let’s Focus on Helping Criminals Change!

The 1960s was a watershed decade in the United States, and maybe worldwide, and particularly the year 1968. For example, in 1961, voters elected John F. Kennedy as the nation’s first president who was also a Catholic. That was the same year that Barack Obama was born on April 4 in Hawaii. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King gave his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. On Nov. 22 that same year President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in downtown Dallas, Texas. Soon thereafter, Dallas police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, subsequently charging him with the gunshot death of a Dallas police officer, J.D. Tippit, and the Kennedy assassination as well. Two days later Jack Ruby, a Dallas businessman, gunned Oswald down as he was being transferred from the police headquarters to the Dallas County jail. “

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, July 2, 1964) was a landmark legislation in the United States that outlawed segregation in the US schools and public places. First conceived to help African Americans, the bill was amended prior to passage to protect women in courts, and explicitly included white people for the first time. It also started the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In order to circumvent limitations on the federal use of the Equal Protection Clause handed down by the Civil Rights Cases, the law was passed under the Commerce Clause. Once it was implemented, its effects were far reaching and had tremendous long-term impacts on the whole country. It prohibited discrimination in public facilities, in government, and in employment, invalidating the Jim Crow laws in the southern US. It became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring. Powers given to enforce the bill were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years.”(From Wikipedia).

The National Voting Rights Act of 1965 (United States Code” outlawed the requirement that would-be voters in the United States take literacy tests to qualify to register to vote, and it provided for federal registration of voters in areas that had less than 50% of eligible minority voters registered. The Act also provided for Department of Justice oversight to registration, and the Department’s approval for any change in voting law in districts that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50% of the population was registered to vote in 1964.” (From Wikipedia)

On April 4, 1968, a gunman assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King as he stood on the balcony outside his room in the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, and 61 days later, June 5, 1968, a gunman shot presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy as he left a speaking engagement at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Kennedy died the next day.

The 1960s was a watershed decade for me personally. Convicted for the first time on Dec. 17, 1959, I spent most of the 1960s in and out of prison. I was released for the first time in May 1962 and was back in prison in August 1963. Released on parole in December 1965, I returned to prison in July 1966. My final release came on Dec. 9, 1968.

The nearly four decades since 1968 has been a watershed time in this country as well.

During the early 1970s, the nation’s prison population was less than 250,000 inmates, but between 1970 and 2005, the number of prisoners ballooned eight-fold to more than 2.2 million incarcerated individuals. A report released in February 2008 by the Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that the number of prisoners will increase by 192,000 between now and 2012. This prison population growth could cost taxpayers another 27.5 billion.

In 1976, Charles Colson, a former aide to former President Richard M. Nixon, launched Prison Fellowship Ministries, now one of the oldest and largest efforts in the nation to reduce prison populations. Another such group, though not particularly faith-based, is a public policy organization in Washington, DC called C.U.R.E. (Citizens United (for the) Rehabilitation (of) Errants. This organization began in 1972 in Texas, and now operates internationally from its headquarters in Washington, DC. Just for transparency purposes, I am working to launch a C.U.R.E. chapter in North Carolina.

Here’s a sampling of prison ministries, anti-recidivism programs and reentry efforts operating around the country. The year these programs launched is in parenthesis: (1893) Wheeler Mission Ministries, Indianapolis; (1954) St. Leonard’s Ministries, Chicago; (1958) Teen Challenge International, Missouri; (1972) C.U.R.E., Washington, DC; (1976) Prison Fellowship, Washington, DC; (1992) New Horizons Ministries, Colorado, Islamic Health and Human Services, Detroit; (1993) Helping Up Mission–Spiritual Recovery Program, Baltimore, Detroit Transition of Prisoners (a PFM initiative); (1994) Prodigal Ministries, Kentucky; (1995) Conquest Offender Reintergration Ministries, Washington, DC, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Chicago; (1996) Women At The Well House Ministries, Texas; (1997) Project Blanket, Pennsylvania; (1999) Episcopal Social Services–Network Program, New York; (2000) Amachi, Pennslyvania; (2001) Keystone Ministries, Mississippi, Men of Valor, California; (2002) Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency–Faith Community Partnership, Washington, DC. This sampling represents just the tip of an iceberg of various efforts designed to help criminals to become contributing citizens.

As you can clearly see, these various efforts–this reentry movement–as my good friend Joe Williams terms it– have launched during the spectacular eight-fold growth of the prison population in the United States.

With that background, let’s consider the central questions of this article: 1) Why have prison populations increased more than eightfold during the past 40 years, despite the gargantuan efforts of anti-recidivism programs and various other re-entry strategies? 2) Why have I managed to stay away from crime and prison for the past 40 years?

As I have observed, even worked alongside several of the anti-recidivism and reentry programs over the years, including some work with Prison Fellowship during the 1990s, I have concluded that far too many programs, ministries, etc. focus on changing the system, rather than helping criminals to change. I am certainly not denying that much about our failed criminal justice system needs changing. Rather, I contend that in order to move progressively along the Change Continuum, criminals must change whether the system does or not.

About 40 years ago, when I got out of prison, the deck was stacked high against a former criminal and prison inmate who was released and wanted to change. For example, I tried to enroll in two business schools in Durham, NC during 1969. Both turned me down. I knew, though, that I needed to become better educated, not because academic credentials would make my trek from crime to contribution any easier, but because I needed the knowledge and the understanding to continue my progress toward personal transformation. Therefore, I mapped my own educational program, learning to conquer challenges as they appeared before me. By contrast, I got my first job after prison just two weeks following my release–Dec. 24, 1968. I worked as a member of the janitorial crew at the long since defunct Jack Tar Hotel in Durham.

Now as I reflect on 40 years of the following four trends, I see a clear conclusion. Before I share the conclusion, consider the four trends: 1) the eight-fold growth of prison populations; 2) the roller coaster like increase and decline of crime rates; 3) the steady growth of anti-recidivism and reentry programs; 4) my personal transformation from criminal to contributing citizen. Now the conclusion: I have succeeded in the arduous trek from crime to contribution because I changed, whether systems improved or not.

For the remainder of this article, I share with you my personal change process. I recommend it highly for anyone who wants to successfully negotiate the Change Continuum.

Near the beginning of my transformation process, I adopted a personal mission statement that I have refined and expanded several times since adopting this core value: “My personal mission in life is to win the war of self by learning to fully live in the seven freedoms that Jesus, the Christ, purchased for us with His death on the cross millennia ago. In this context, I define “self” as the residue impact of my sinful nature that remains primarily in my memory, following my miraculous new birth as a child of God. The seven freedoms are as follows: 1) Freedom to live fully in the Word of God; 2) Freedom to live fully by faith; 3) Freedom to live fully, trusting in the hope of the gospel; 4) Freedom to live fully according to the principles of love; 5) Time freedom; 6) Financial freedom; and 7) Debt freedom.

During the 40 years of my personal transformation, I’ve learned to build my new life on the foundation of a set of core values that I’ve termed the 40 Powerful Principles of Transformation. I learned to organize these 40 principles into the following seven categories: 1) The thinking and perspective principles; 2) The effectiveness principles; 3) the planning principles; 4) the continual action principles; 5) the daily application principles; 6) the C.A.R.E. principles; 7) the T.E.A.M principles.

I am working on an E-book that explains these principles in detail. I plan to have it ready by my 40th anniversary–Dec. 9, 2008. In summary, it all boils down to this: let’s teach criminals how to change, whether systems change or not. I have learned that I can live successfully, even when surrounded daily by people who fail.