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Our May Attorney Profile belongs to Mark Streed. We will be asking Mark many questions this month. Do you have any questions for Mark? Watch Mark’s video and read his attorney profile and get to know him a little more.
What is the most memorable/experience case you’ve had as a lawyer?
Mark: Every case has an interesting story because representing victims of personal injury involves real life issues and problems, real people with real human drama. Throw in the competitive litigation process, where the insurance company and their lawyers are working hard to undo and destroy the case you are trying to build for your client and you have a remarkable dynamic, very capable of creating memorable experiences and stories.
Several memorable cases come to mind (this happens when you practice law for 30 years). I’ll share one case. It involved my somewhat unorthodox client, a small man who cleaned homes for a living. He suffered a horrific fracture of the tibia and fibula—his foot was literally dangling by tendons and tissue—when a defective ladder broke and “scissored” his lower leg. The insurance company and its lawyer were so smug (they thought there was no liability on the defendants and that my client was strange and a jury wouldn’t like him; they were wrong on all counts) and confident they were going to prevail that they even called me out of a deposition (on a different case!), to make a big production of a “one-time offer”. I remember them making this “very generous offer of $7,500” (yes, that is exactly what the claims rep said in his slow drawl) to compensate my client for his severe injuries. After a very contentious trial the jury put liability on the lying, deceptive defendant and awarded my very deserving client damages of over $400,000, a significant portion for his diminished earning capacity.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Mark: Helping clients and their families through some very difficult problems and life situations. As they say, “life happens”. And when bad things like crippling, disabling injuries or the death of a primary breadwinner happen, people are often in great need of a life preserver to keep from going under. There are financial issues, medical issues and emotional issues to deal with and most people are not equipped to deal with all of that. The clients we work with need that kind of help, someone to help them navigate through some very difficult life issues. My staff and I are the so-called “life preserver”; we take as many issues off our client’s plate so they can focus on getting the medical treatment, rehabilitation and emotional support they need without having to worry about insurance and legal issues.
What would you say to someone who is unsure about hiring an attorney?
Mark: Go out and meet and interview a lawyer or two. Ask to also meet the lawyer’s primary assistant. See if they give you time to ask all of your questions and assess whether they seem to really be listening to “understand” you and your issues or just listening to respond with some legalese that you can’t even understand. Ask yourself: Do I trust them and do I feel they understand what needs to be done and will they be available to me? If you have a positive answer to all of those things then you probably are no longer “unsure” about whether to hire a lawyer.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not hard at work advocating for your clients (if ever)?
Mark: My wife and I have three active children. We love watching them perform musically and compete in sports. I also enjoy running for exercise (and as a way to relax) and have completed 12 half-marathons and 8 marathons (including the Boston Marathon) in the last 8 years. Golfing, reading fiction and historical fiction, gardening and landscaping and hiking are other hobbies I enjoy. But the best of times are those just spending time with our family, no matter we are actually “doing”.
What keeps you excited about practicing law?
Mark: The next case is always a little different than any other case. That is exciting. Also, the learning curve is constantly present whether it be new medical issues, engineering issues, construction standards, financial/economic issues and getting to know each client and their “story”.
What advice would you give a young lawyer?
Mark: Being a lawyer who represents individuals for 30 years I cannot stress how important it is to learn how to serve people. I encourage college and law school students to work in the service industry, e.g. wait tables, bartend, etc. so they can develop their interpersonal communication skills and learn how to better understand and serve people.
Much of what we do as lawyers is learn how to solve problems. Every week a situation arises where a lawyer is faced with a conundrum of some sort. Many times we do not have the luxury of long periods of contemplation to examine the problem from every angle. Most of the time we have to make a quick analysis and then an immediate decision. Problem-solving skills and the ability to MAKE A DECISION, live with it and then execute Iit are skills that every good trial lawyer has to have.
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