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One Part Boldness for Best Results ONE PART COMPASSION
There is more to the practice of law than reading dusty old law books. It involves listening with your heart as well as your head. Working with people who are facing huge injustices can be frustrating for us, and even more so for our clients. Instead of letting our feelings dictate our next move, we use our knowledge, experience, and grit to prepare for battle. How do we prepare? We gather evidence to make a case. We persuade insurance carriers that our clients are honorable people whose lives have been turned upside down by an injury. If a carrier cannot be persuaded to do the right thing, then we will use the court system to obtain justice for our clients. We combine compassion with boldness to achieve results. Both of us grew up with dreams of having a career in law, but we followed quite different paths to the courtroom.
WENDY: As a teen, I didn’t know what a trial lawyer did, but I knew I wanted to be one. Whenever I saw a trial played out on a TV show or movie, I could picture myself doing that. Neither of my parents were lawyers, and I didn’t know any, but I was sure it was my calling.
LISA: As the daughter of a New York City police officer, when I was growing up, I imagined fighting crime in the courtroom as a prosecutor. It seemed like exciting and important work to me, using the law to protect society from criminals. My first position out of law school was not as a prosecutor, though. I started my legal career in 1991 with the Office of Counsel for the Archdiocese of Newark, where I was exposed to many different areas of the law, including workers’ compensation.
You know how, oftentimes, reality doesn’t match your expectations? In the case of law, it did. All
–Lisa Pezzano Mickey Compassion and boldness drive me and Wendy to achieve results. The best part of our jobs is walking into that courtroom, with our heels on and gloves off, knowing that we will be making a real difference in the lives of our clients. Fate has a way of placing you where you’re supposed to be. Twenty-six years after my first job as a licensed attorney, I continue to practice in the same court system I was introduced to as a young lawyer — the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Most of my clients never dreamed of filing a claim before. They just wanted to earn a living and never expected to get hurt. I have seen good people with many years of loyal service to an employer treated like criminals by insurance carriers merely for seeking the medical treatment they need to provide for their families. I am incensed by bureaucrats who try to micromanage medical treatment, causing further injury. Talking to people and helping them to return to productive, pain- free lives is part of my mission.
the feeling of standing in front of a jury, backed by all the preparation I’d done, and using evidence to persuade them to rule in my client’s favor.
As much as I enjoyed arguing cases in court, though, I soon realized I wasn’t representing the people who needed my help the most. I made the switch to my own practice, where I could fight for the same people I’d been arguing against. Having worked on both sides, that switch has given me an edge. Not long after moving to my own practice, I met Lisa. I had extra office space that I was looking to rent, and Lisa answered my ad. She didn’t end up renting the space, but we hit it off. We were both moms with kids around the same age, we were both lawyers, and we were practicing in similar areas. Soon, we started asking each other questions. I’d call Lisa and pick her brain about workers’ comp, then she’d call to ask me about personal injury. At some point, we realized that it would make a lot of sense to combine forces. We formed a friendship that ultimately led to a partnership. –Wendy Bornstein
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