Happy New Year! Well, 2018 is in the books, and Burnside Brankamp Law has had another big year. While our practice has grown significantly in 2018, I want to talk about some highlights for our Firm and our community in this Newsletter. I also wanted to express my thanks to our clients, family, and friends that have trusted and supported us and given us the fuel to continue to work hard.
Law Firm Growth in West Virginia and Kentucky: As you know from our previous newsletter, our business focus this year was to expand our reach into West Virginia and Kentucky. With the addition of our WV/KY managing attorney, Michael C. Walker, we did just that. We jumped right in and had our first WV jury trial in March and are trying to make a big splash in the West Virginia market. With referrals, targeted commercials and ads, we have grown our respective West Virginia and Kentucky practices to be in a position of growth there. We are in the process of opening an Ashland, Kentucky, office to better serve our Kentucky clients and to compliment our Huntington, WV, office, which is preparing to move to a permanent (and convenient) location.
Growth here is important to me because my Maw-Maw is from Eastern Kentucky. “Tolliver Town”, located in Letcher County, KY, was named after my great-grandfather, Sampson Tolliver, a well-off merchant, who died unexpectedly. My Maw-Maw was small at the time, and only remembers that they went from living in a nice house to a shack, made of tin from her father’s store that her family lost because her mother didn’t know how to read or write.
After serving in WWII as a sharpshooter in the Battle of the Bulge, my Paw-Paw returned to his home in Clay County, WV, where he became a coal miner. Both he and my Maw-Maw eventually lost their jobs and took the Hillbilly Highway north to Cleveland, where I’m from. They were underdogs and I believe I cater to underdogs in my practice because of my grandparents and their story. Coming back to Appalachia has been important to me because I get to apply my Appalachian Underdog roots to my cases and relationships with the clients.
Case Resolutions: One of the things that sticks out to me is the number of cases we resolve that other lawyers have turned down. I believe my last few Ohio jury verdicts all came from cases others have turned down. It’s nice to reflect knowing that if I did not take those cases, perhaps those clients would have received justice. I take pride in that. 2018 was another year of resolutions for clients who had their cases turned down by others.
With the effective use of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation, many of our clients do not require the service of a jury. While we use several different methods to prepare for trial such as use of our office mock courtroom for preparation and focus groups, most cases likely settle. But this is not always the case. One of my favorite things to do is to try a case in front of a jury. I like the rush, but I love to utilize our Constitution to fight for the little guy. Insurance Companies believe that juries generally favor their insureds, which is generally true, unfortunately.
That makes our clients the Underdog. Most of all, I love fighting for the Underdog. Winning for them is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my career. While I realize that winning is tougher nowadays because of tort reform and juror sentiment, when my client’s win, it’s not just a win for them or me, it’s a win for our justice system.
Community: When we purchased our Ohio office, we contemplated using it not just for our practice, but also as a place where we could foster community events. With a dynamic partnering with the American Red Cross for several events, we are able to serve our community not just in the courtroom, but in the streets. In June 2018, our office hosted the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours social event. The significance of that event was heightened when I proposed an epic community event, PLANT PORTSMOUTH, to immediately transform Portsmouth’s downtown and to provide hope that our community is on the rebound.