I’m one of ten kids. I grew up in a little town called Yakima, Washington. Growing up one of ten kids, I grew up lower on the economic scale, but we grew up rich in love and rich in family. I grew up across the street from a cathedral in Yakima, Washington. I went to St. Paul’s grade school and Carroll High School in Yakima.
I ended up moving to Portland, Oregon, where I ran cross country and track in college. I ended up traveling out to the Midwest to go to Notre Dame for law school. The best part about Notre Dame Law School was that I met my wife there, Michelle. We have been married since 1990, and we have been blessed with six lovely children: Emma, Clare, Kate, Will, Norah and John.
I went to Notre Dame Law School fully believing that I would be an international lawyer. In fact, I studied in London, England, for a year and learned about international law and comparative law. When I got back to the U.S., I decided that I wanted to be a trial lawyer; I’ve been a trial lawyer since 1988.
For the first eight years of my practice, I represented insurance companies and large companies. I learned from the best. I learned how the system works (how the civil system works). If somebody is injured, they are entitled to compensation. But how much? I learned from the insurance companies about the business side of insurance. How they limit the amount a person recovers and how large companies think.
In 1996, I decided to forge my own path. I decided to represent the little guy. In fact, I wanted to go back from where I came from. It fit my personality better and it fit the way I think a little bit better. I learned that I felt more comfortable in a courtroom walking in sitting next to the person who needed me, not a big large corporation who already had a ton of other lawyers — but one lawyer that represents them and their family and made sure they get justice.