Sometimes Getting Better Means Getting Smaller A DECADE OF CHANGE AT DAVID BLACKWELL LAW
It’s never a good day when you have to see a lawyer, especially an injury lawyer. For many of my clients, until we sit down together, their only experience has been dealing with insurance companies looking to minimize their case. By the time I see them, they are beyond frustrated and overwhelmed by the entire distrustful process. I can relate to where they’re coming from because I’ve personally walked in their shoes. The first lawsuit I was involved in was my own. I wasn’t a lawyer back then, but before my case was done, I knew I was going to study law. I found out quickly that the lawyer representing me was simply going through the motions and didn’t give my case or me the time of day. I was worse than an afterthought to him, not even a number. So, I basically represented myself. Oh yeah, the lawyer on the other side didn’t seem to care either. I won the case, but still felt defeated because I was not taken care of like I was promised. I learned a lot along the way that has helped me to take care of the injured people I now represent. I saw first-hand, with my neck on the line, the investigative legwork, network of the right experts, and ongoing preparation that it takes to succeed. I knew that if I truly cared about people I represented and worked hard, I would never have a shortage of work and that has held to be true.
Today, I have been handling only personal injury cases for quite some time because my belief in caring for people and my roll- up-the-sleeves efforts have paid off. In the past, I grew my law firm to four lawyers and 10 support staff. Over the years, however, I realized that I enjoyed being more personally involved in each case and that, by being more selective, I could make sure that I was providing exceptional service. Being selective isn’t always about money; it generally means making sure the people I select to represent are a good fit for me and that I am a good fit for them. So, I decided to scale down to one legal assistant and me. I am the only lawyer, so I am with you every step of the way. You talk to and see Dana and me. That’s it. There is no transferring you from associate to associate and no dropped communications. The buck really does stop here, and I like it that way. I only personally represent people who have been injured in car accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, moped accidents, and trip and fall accidents. In addition, I represent the families of people who have died because of the negligence of someone else. Because injury cases may go for some extended period of time, I want to really get to know the people who trust me to take
care of them and they get to know me. Most people are looking for what’s fair and for it to happen in a timely manner. We have changed over time, but the reason I got into law remains the same: to personally care for people who trust me, roll up my sleeves, and outwork and out-prepare the other side. Let’s get to work!
HELPING INJURED PEOPLE IS ALL WE DO.
With every new year comes an opportunity to reinvent ourselves or start down a new path toward self-improvement. Making resolutions is a big part of many families’ New Year’s traditions, and parents often have a desire for their kids to take part in that tradition when they’re old enough. Following through on resolutions is tough, especially for young children, but with your help, they can achieve their goals. Help Your Kids Achieve More This Year With Simple and Actionable Goals
Will My PI Case Go to Trial? Understanding Mediation
A common question our clients have is whether they will have to go to court to reduce their personal injury case. The truth is, each case is different. In South Carolina, most cases settle before a lawsuit is even filed. Even if you do have to file a lawsuit, you can still try settling your case without going to court through a process called mediation, or any time before trial. Mediation brings all parties involved in a lawsuit together in one location. A neutral party, called a mediator — usually a lawyer familiar with the area of law your case concerns — examines the case and identifies strengths and weaknesses on both sides. His goal is to bring the sides closer together and settle the case in a way that is agreeable to both the defendant and the plaintiff. The process of mediation usually takes about a day, depending on the complexity of your case and how eager both sides are to work together. The best part is you still have the right to a full trial if mediation fails and it is confidential which means anything discussed cannot be used at trial. The beauty of mediation is you still have full control while in mediation. And if your case settles in mediation, you avoid the potentially drawn-out experience of a trial, and you can put it all behind you. Although we provide legal counsel throughout the entire process, the decision to go to court or settle in mediation is ultimately up to you, the client.
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. You are your children’s role model for almost everything, including following through on New Year’s resolutions. So, ask yourself if you follow through on your own resolutions. When you proclaim that you will read more books or finally get a gym membership, do you actually try to do it? Your kids will assign as much importance to New Year’s resolutions as you do, so by sticking to your own commitments, you can help them stay on track too. KEEP THINGS SIMPLE AND ACHIEVABLE. When your kids are forming their resolutions, their first attempts will probably be very broad. Statements like “I want to be more kind” or “I will try to help more around the house” incorporate good values but don’t include any actionable steps. Help your kids think of tangible ways to act on those goals. For example, if they want to be tidier, a good resolution might be for them to clean their room once a week or take responsibility for one household chore every day. DON’T DO ALL THE WORK FOR THEM. While it’s important for you to help your kids formulate their goals, be sure that you aren’t taking over. If they’re ultimately responsible for their resolutions, they’ll feel more compelled to keep them. Instead, suggest different goal areas they could improve, such as home, school, or sports, and let them elaborate. When it comes to creating habits, nobody is perfect, so even if your kids falter on their goals in the middle of February, don’t worry. The important thing is that you continue to encourage them every step of the way.
COFFEE’S ON US AT INDIAN LAND ELEMENTARY One Small Way We Appreciate Teachers
In 2017, when Edutopia.org asked people to describe the traits of a teacher who had changed their lives, the overwhelming majority of responses were not about test scores. Instead, they responded that teachers who had changed their lives made them feel safe and loved. Great teachers model patience and go above and beyond to help students believe in themselves and reach their full potentials. That’s why this month at Indian Land Elementary, coffee is on us. Our nonprofit organization, Justice4Kids, is providing coffee for a month to show our appreciation for the impact education professionals have on our community — not only through teaching children how to read and write but also for all the above-and-beyond things we know they do. We provide everything the staff needs to take a break from their hectic days and enjoy a cup of joe: coffee, creamer, and even personalized cups. We know teachers and all their support staff deserve it. Nobody knows that more than Linda Blackwell, David’s wife. She has been active in the Lancaster County School District as a teacher, principal, and as an administrator and as the Director of Elementary Education for most of her career. We took inspiration from her as we came up with this small way to show our support for teachers and to brighten their days. Indian Land Elementary isn’t the only school for which we’ve provided coffee. In November, we did the same thing for Van Wyck Elementary School and for Indian Land Middle School. At David Blackwell Law, we understand that by supporting education professionals, we are supporting our future.
When our nonprofit Justice4Kids isn’t providing coffee for teachers, it’s busy supporting the local backpack program that provides backpacks filled with food for children to take home over the weekend so they won’t go hungry. In addition, Justice4Kids supports our children by giving coaches funding to provide shoes, socks, gloves, and other sports necessities so that these children can participate.
In The Kitchen With Dana
Inspired by NourishedKitchen.com
Cabbage is in season right now, which means it’s the perfect time to try your hand at making sauerkraut. The fermented cabbage requires only two ingredients, keeps for months, and is packed with beneficial probiotics.
INGREDIENTS • 2 lbs cabbage EQUIPMENT • Jar • Lid with airlock
• 4 tsp fine sea salt
• Something to weigh down cabbage, ideally made of a
nonreactive material like glass
1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Slice very thinly. 2. In a large bowl, combine cabbage and salt. Let stand for 20 minutes. 3. Squeeze cabbage to release juices. Let the cabbage continue to soak and release juices for another 20 minutes. 4. Transfer to a jar and press down cabbage until completely submerged in its juices. Weigh down cabbage. 5. Seal jar with airlock. Let cabbage sit at room temperature and away from sunlight for one month. Once fermented, transfer to the fridge. Sauerkraut will keep for six months to one year.
AQUARIUS CAPRICORN CELEBRATE CHAMPAGNE FIREWORKS
NEW YEAR PARTY PIG RESOLUTION
SNOW TOAST WINTER
FREEZING JANUARY MIDNIGHT
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1 2
How I Grew, and Shrank, My Firm
Helping Your Kids Make New Year’s Resolutions How Mediation Can Help Your Case Our Nonprofit Appreciates Teachers How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut
Real Winter Wonderlands
FRANK’S COLUMN Escape to a Winter Wonderland
Snow is magical and gorgeous — unless you have to commute in it. If you want to enjoy all the wonder that winter has to offer without the hassle, why not turn it into a vacation? Here are a few breathtaking, snow-covered destinations that any winter lover can enjoy. BULGUKSA TEMPLE, SOUTH KOREA Above the city of Gyeongju, this ancient Buddhist temple has stood on the slopes of Tohamsan Mountain since the eighth century. Bulguksa, or “Temple of the Buddha Land,” is South Korea’s No. 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a popular attraction for domestic and international tourism. The crowds and school tours die down during the winter, however, which also happens to be when Bulguksa is at its most pristine. The iced-over lotus ponds and snow-dusted pagodas add to the sense of tranquility this site naturally exudes. THE DOLOMITES, SOUTH TYROL, ITALY If you want the feel of a ski trip to the Alps without the packed slopes and ritzy resorts, the Dolomites
are just for you. Located in northeastern Italy, this stunning mountain range is home to some of the best skiing in Europe, as well as many historical sites. The secluded villages that dot the mountain valleys are an attraction in their own right, especially for the rustic cuisine you’ll find there. Don’t expect pasta though. This region is a melting pot of flavors from Austria, northern Italy, and the local Ladin people. Ricotta and sauerkraut pancakes, anyone? THE ANTARCTIC This is the one entry on this list that is best enjoyed during the summer months, which is December–February in the Southern Hemisphere, because that’s when the freezing temperatures of the southernmost continent are at their most hospitable. The Antarctic has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, with cruises taking adventure seekers through the vast, untouched beauty of this far-flung destination. Some tourists even enjoy kayaking or cross-country skiing through this icy paradise.
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