Personal injury law

Tom Q. Keefe

From the files of “things that are entirely predictable to everybody except for the guy in charge,” Interim Law Dean Tom Q. Keefe has been pushed out at St. Louis University School of Law. Well, “fired” according to some reports.

You mean bringing in a straight-talking law dean who was a personal injury attorney with no ties to the law faculty and was hand picked by the increasingly unpopular university president didn’t work out? SHOCKING! Tell me more….

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It seems like law professors are constantly trying to trip up students during their Socratic torture sessions, and students have little choice but to sit back and take it. But as soon as a law professor trips, she runs to the courthouse to sue about it.

Somewhat reminiscent of the late Judge Robert Bork’s slip-and-fall at the Yale Club of New York City, apparently speaking on a lecture platform is a little too much work for professors, especially if the platform is “unreasonably small in width and depth.” It seems that even the most prominent of professors can fall prey to a simple lack of coordination.

It just goes to show that even people outside of Cardozo need walking instructions….

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In the crazy world of cyberspace, personal injury lawyers are a dime a dozen. By now, we’ve gotten used to their crazy antics and low-budget commercials.

But not all personal injury firms are created equal. For the Law Firm of Gary, Williams, Lewis, and Watson, P.I., “low-budget” is a concept that just doesn’t exist. To the contrary, the firm wants to make it clear just how baller the life of a private injury attorney can be.

Dubbing himself “The Giant Killer,” the firm’s larger-than-life head partner, Willie E. Gary, never misses an opportunity to make his wealth and success known. Touting hundred-million-dollar verdicts and rubbing elbows with celebrities, Gary is on a one-man mission to prove that chasing ambulances is much easier when you’re driving a Bentley….

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For years, personal injury law advertising and violent imagery have gone hand in hand. Only in this field would we get a video of an unhinged attorney smashing a pickup truck into a parked car and call it an advertisement. The more they can yell or blow things up, it seems, the better.

Keeping with the tradition of aggression, we have not one, not two, but three different personal injury lawyers who have branded themselves “The Hammer.” But in the dog-eat-dog world of personal injury law, there can only be room for one Hammer. So who should win the rights to the title?

Should it be Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley from Virginia, who compares personal injury law to making sausage? Or Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro, the personal injury attorney possibly from New York (or Canada or Florida), who claims he loves to play rough? Or our entry from down South, Jim “The Texas Hammer” Adler, who is supposedly meaner than a junkyard dog?

Which Hammer should reign supreme? Let’s review the evidence….

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Our favorite lawyers in Las Vegas are at it again. You may recall last winter when we presented you with one of the most fantastically horrible legal commercials ever, involving exploding animated ham, a guy in a Cosby sweater, and death metal.

Well, my good friends over at Hamilton Law have offered up not just another wacky commercial, but a series of ridiculous billboards advertising the services of the Sin City bankruptcy and personal injury firm.

This time around, we get more awesome porcine puns, cheesy acting, and ugly sweaters. If there’s anything I can respect, it’s an undaunted commitment to crazy….

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SLU Law Dean Tom Keefe. He definitely doesn’t look like a butt boy to me.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve covered Saint Louis University School of Law more than I could have ever possibly imagined.

It all started when their dean, Annette Clark, resigned her deanship (or resigned before she was fired, depending on whom you believe). After issuing a public and scathing farewell letter, Professor Clark fled back to Seattle, where she rejoined the faculty of the Seattle University School of Law.

To fill the void, the president of SLU, Father Lawrence Biondi, appointed outspoken personal injury lawyer Tom Keefe as interim dean of the law school.

If you thought having a personal injury lawyer as dean of a law school would result in fun for readers of Above the Law, you were right. This guy is going to be a riot — before he (almost inevitably) flames out…

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Nepotism and small-town law practice have gone hand in hand since the invention of the shingle. Our country’s fine judicial system is littered with dynamic duos of father and son lawyers, fighting injustice one personal injury at a time.

One firm out in Ohio, however, has taken the family business concept to a whole new level. Meet Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A., where nine — count ‘em, nine — members of the Murray family are partners… in a 14-lawyer firm.

Sandusky, Ohio, known for little more than being the home of Cedar Point and sharing a name with the most prominent pedophile in the last decade, is the home turf of the Murray clan. Together, the family handles an array of personal injury matters, from auto and truck accidents to fatal auto and truck accidents.

But just what fate lies in wait for non-Murrays who dare to join the firm?

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Yesterday, we broke the news of the dean of St. Louis University School of Law’s abrupt departure, and the accompanying fiery resignation letter she sent to the powers that be at the university. Ex-dean Annette Clark’s missive was more of a bitchslap than anything else, but like Phillip J. Closius before her, she made it absolutely clear that she would rather quit her job than run a law school whose sole function was to serve as the university’s cash cow.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, we’ve found out that Clark’s passionate letter may have been penned in one of those “can’t fire me, I quit” type scenarios. Clark may have purported to be going to the mattresses for her students, and she might have been doing just that. But as we all know, there are two sides to every story….

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Quick! I’m an in-house lawyer! How are my legal skills?

Admit it: You just thought to yourself, “So-so. The guy couldn’t hack it at a law firm and wanted a 9 to 5 lifestyle, so he took his mediocre skills and moved in-house. I’ll try not to be transparently condescending when I talk to him on the phone.”

I believed that, too, until I went in-house. (That was a joke. How do you put a smiley face on a blog post?)

A moment’s thought reveals that I’m a bundle of legal prejudices, and I suspected that others were, too. So I did a Rorschach test of some lawyer-friends. I named categories of lawyers, and I asked my friends to give their immediate reactions to those categories.

So what are our legal prejudices?

Quick! I’m a partner at a big firm! What do you think of me?

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This community service stinks.

Ahh, “sh*t law.” In case you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s what some lawyers rudely and condescendingly call legal practice outside of Biglaw. From traffic tickets to personal injury, you name it, and it’s apparently a derivative of “sh*t law.”

Back in March, we brought you a story about Joseph Neal Jr., the apparent king of one of these so-called “sh*t law” practices in Augusta, Georgia. Neal, a prominent personal injury attorney, earned our Lawyer of the Day title after he and his ex-wife racked up criminal charges for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting the family babysitter. Neal later went on to earn 21% of the vote in our March Lawyer of the Month competition.

Now, just a few short months later, Neal has been sentenced after accepting the terms of a plea bargain. The deal reduced a felony rape charge to two misdemeanors. Neal will serve three years of supervised probation, and he’ll also commit to a term of community service that some would call a bit of poetic justice….

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