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What Motivates a Cooper & Elliott Lawyer?

February 24, 2015 / Chip Cooper

The attorneys of Cooper & Elliott are a unique breed of civil litigation lawyers—and we’re kind of proud of it. The attorneys on our team have a distinct set of qualities and skills that we think give us an advantage when it comes to handling cases.

Thinking quickly and compassionately

To join our team, a candidate must have the things you’d typically expect: they need to be an exemplary researcher and writer and have excelled in law school. But our lawyers also must think fast on their feet. There’s no time to press “pause” when a curveball is thrown at you during trial. A great attorney has to be able to react quickly and seamlessly to make the necessary change. This is a quality all Cooper & Elliott attorneys possess.

We also require compassionate thinking. We hire lawyers with exceptional people skills, folks who are intuitive and sensitive to other people’s suffering. They must be able to communicate precisely and clearly, and they have to be able to connect with both clients and jurors by understanding and presenting difficult issues in high-stakes cases.

Our team members must also be courageous and have an inherent competitive streak. That’s something that can’t be taught; either you have it or you don’t, and to be on the Cooper & Elliott team it must be part of your DNA.

Righting wrongs

We get extreme satisfaction from righting wrongs, finding justice, and helping prevent others from enduring the same tragedies our clients had to live through. When we see that an injustice has been done, we are compelled to make things right—even if it means taking on challenging or unpopular cases.  We have filed lawsuits against churches, non-profits, and popular political leaders, not because we were eager to sue but because in each instance they had violated the law but refused to accept responsibility. Sometimes the pursuit of justice requires us to take action against a popular or powerful defendant, and when it does we don’t shy away.

Making a difference

The most satisfying cases for us are those where we had a significant, positive impact on our clients’ lives. Like the case where a garbage truck drove through the side of a client’s house. In the blink of an eye, our client was effectively made homeless, but because the insurance company felt the house wasn’t worth much due to a sewer problem, the amount they were willing to pay out wasn’t going to be enough to make our client whole again.

We knew the case wasn’t simply about obtaining money for repairs—it was about getting our client back into a livable home and getting his life back to where it had been before the accident. By understanding what our client really needed, and with some tenacity and creativity, our client ultimately received a sum that allowed him to move to a new home and put his life back together.

Getting personal

Getting to know our clients personally not only helps us understand how they’ve been hurt and what they need in order to heal, it helps us argue the case most effectively. Recently, we handled a case where a woman died as a result of negligence by the hospital that was treating her.

To prepare the case, we sat down with every member of this woman’s family to learn about who their mother had been—how kind she had been, how passionate she had been about her community, and how her senseless passing had devastated her entire family. We travelled to each family member’s home—from Florida to California—to look at photos of their deceased mother, hear stories of how integral she was in their lives, and to internalize how her wrongful death had impacted the entire family.

Only by getting to know these family members could we get to know their lost loved one. And only by getting to know this special woman through them could we effectively argue their civil litigation case in court.

Going above and beyond

Ultimately, it’s our goal to help our client meet whatever need has not been met by other means. For us, a successful case is not just about obtaining a large verdict or settlement, although we do work hard to do the best we can in every way for our clients. What really motivates us is a genuine desire to right wrongs, and to help each of our clients move past their loss so they can get on with their lives.

We come to care deeply about each client, and we care an awful lot about making sure wrongs are made right—not only for our particular clients, but for every one of us who might face the same situation in the future.

The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.

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