Our Recommitment to Excellence 2021
More than a dozen years ago, as we were contemplating our future as we absorbed and recovered from the great financial crisis which substantially reduced our net worth and extended the path of my working life, I began my blog.
After 10 years of recovery, I finally returned my hourly rate to where it had been prior to the meltdown. Of course, my practice is a blend of hourly work and contingent fee work, but it requires of a person sound physical and emotional health. I have been blessed with both good health and a most happy life.
20 months ago, starting with the loss of our dear dog Duffy to cancer, our world and life changed, and the 20 months have passed in a painful blur of vicious politics, painful news, fear for the future, and a hard-earned recovery.
While I believe the country will continue to have setbacks as the “anti-vaxers” resist fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens of this wonderful country, we and our staff have had our vaccines, and Nancy and I will have our boosters the minute they are authorized and available.
Alas, there will be no “cruising to the finish“.
Therefore, I anticipate the final surge and even a lunge through that professional “finish line“ whether it be five, six, or seven years away. Barring a health crisis, it won’t be in our near future.
That will require a permanent commitment to the long term, low-carb, Mediterranean, low wheat, dietary plan that we have evolved into over these same last 10 to 12 years.
With luck, we will continue to live robust and active lives, focused around maintaining our property which we love, and our pets to whom we are devoted, and our family with whom we are beginning to return to a normal, close, loving relationship. We have been like ships floating in a ocean too far apart.
For our clients, they should know that slogging through a pandemic, without missing a day, staying healthy, and polishing systems which have evolved over decades, have us in a good “fighting trim“.
We have trained Courtney to be an efficient and friendly receptionist, A meticulous recorder of our billing hours, a friendly and persistent billing clerk, and our youngest “utility player“.
Her mother Faye has absorbed the training in lessons that her “nonlinear thinking“ boss has put in place, checklists, ticklers, deadlines, practices and procedures, blog articles, forms after forms, and practices so that we do the right things in every case.
Over 40 years of managing my finances, keeping track of our bills, purchasing our supplies, and running both our office and our home, has Nancy well-entitled to ease up, but still willing to do what is necessary to keep track of it all.
It is been a privilege to begin with a 19-year-old rookie with two years of paralegal training, and watch Letetia mature into one of the finest personal injury, civil, and family paralegals in the state of West Virginia.
Recently, we have begun “digging down“ in the ways to manage the vast amount of medical information we receive regarding our injury clients.
In a world in which every billboard shouts about the well-dressed lawyers fighting the “evil adjusters”, caring more about the clients than the other guy, and guaranteeing fabulous results, we have continued to have our share of “the pie”, using tried, hands-on, methods, somewhat lower contingent fees, and a very very diligent approach to documenting and resolving without litigation those cases that really should not be filed because they need not be filed.
In avoiding the cost of depositions, expert fees, and other exorbitant costs, the 20 to 25% contingent fee can bring us a fair return while maximizing the net results for the individual clients.
Our network with larger firms, for those substantial and expensive cases, remains strong, so sometimes our client find they have two firms for price of one. A dozen years of blog writing, 1500 pages, and 425 articles, of “green content“ information, several articles in West Virginia State Bar and West Virginia Association for Justice publications, continuing education presentations, several awards for which I am deeply grateful, and 4000 to 5000 clients, have positioned us, by adapting to and anticipating accelerating change, to be an unusual combination of experience and innovation.
While I know it will not last forever, I am privileged to be able to serve individual West Virginians in a most satisfying way.
We carefully interview and evaluate potential clients, letting those who I believe will not be a good “match“ go to attorneys willing to adapt to their values and attitudes.
I don’t expect to have perfect clients, nor should they expect to have a perfect attorney, but we must have clients who are willing to learn, listen, adapt, and change.
We all make mistakes, but there is a thing called “redemption“, and even very flawed people can improve. Those people, committed to working with me, listening to my guidance, adapting to my methods, and trying to do the best for themselves and their families are the people that we are seeking to represent.
If you fit that description, then I believe you have found the right legal team.
And, at this stage of my career I don’t intend to leave much back there on the playing field.
I am going to try to take each case as if it might be my last, to serve my clients, to appear respectfully and professionally before our judges, to keep our costs down, and to give our clients the best chance for recovery from one of the worst times of their lives.
That is our pledge to you.
This post was written by Burton Hunter