I won’t ramble on about my humble beginnings. . . leaving my Missouri sharecropper family at seventeen. . . my succession of menial jobs to fund my education. Suffice to say, I worked hard and did my best to remain focused. There was Northwest Missouri State University (1966 – 1968), then Louisiana State University at New Orleans (now called University of New Orleans) in 1969, then part-time night law school Western State University, College of Law in Anaheim, California. I sat for the California Bar Examination in July 1974, and was admitted to practice law that December. Around that time, I met another young lawyer named Milton C. Grimes and we eventually decided to practice law together. By early 1979, I struck out on my own and have been in practice ever since. Milton and I continue to consult on specific cases from time to time–including (the late) Rodney King’s case against the Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with beating him.
I’ve worked hard to hone my skills as a client advocate and as a trial lawyer. There were numerous seminars, including those put on by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (Notre Dame Law School), the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Consumer Attorneys of the California (formerly known as the California Trial Lawyers Association), the California Applicants Attorneys Association (attorneys who represent injured workers), the Orange County Bar Association, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association, and iconic trial lawyer Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers’ College. Incidentally, Spence’s “college” is a special school for lawyers who represent the common person. Corporate attorneys–particularly those who represent Insurance companies–and government prosecutors are specifically excluded. Since Gerry began it in 1994, he’s held it every summer—and sometimes a second one in the fall. It’s an intense, invitation-only, month-long course. Richard “Racehorse” Haynes telephoned me in May of 1998 to say that I’d been invited to attend that year. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.
Dubon v. World Restoration (pdf link), in which I prevailed, is considered by many in the legal community to be a huge victory for injured workers. Moreover, it was a unanimous decision by the Commissioners at the Appeals Board in San Francisco.