Gary: I’m Gary Burger of Burger Law. I’m blessed to be here with my mom, Joan Burger. We do a lot of these videos, and put a lot of practical advice on helping people on legal issues and claims, but I wanted to take a minute and do a short video to thank you for practicing with me. So, when I became a lawyer, my mom shortly after that became a judge, and then I didn’t practice with her. And then after she retired from being a judge, she was a mediator and resolved all kinds of cases for about eight years. Then, we started Burger Law, and we’re able to bring my mom in of counsel. How much fun it is to practice with you! So, thank you so much for giving me all of your wisdom.
Joan: Well, this has been a really fun opportunity, unexpected. I thought I was just gonna retire and go off in the sunset, but Gary won’t let me, so here I am downtown, and we are having fun in this beautiful office building, and it’s been so interesting to sit with him and do some of my own depositions, but sit with him through these depositions, through the client preparations and meet his clients and evaluate the cases with him and talk about the evidence. Of course I’m very impressed. He’s a wonderful trial lawyer. I started law school when he started kindergarten, so he’s been exposed to it a long time, but he’s right. Because of the different avenues we took and the roads we took, and me getting on the bench right after he started practicing, we haven’t had this opportunity. So, it’s really fun to learn, to appreciate each other and respect each other professionally rather than just in our familial relationship.
Gary: Yeah. It’s different being told by my mom how to do a deposition rather than how to do the dishes. But, no. I’ve been doing this 24 years. I worked to, in our firm, our lawyers worked to hone our trial talents and to do this everyday. We fight on these cases and try to get the best results in these cases. You’ve been doing this for 40 years. How has the legal practice changed from when you started? I see it a lot already in my time, but you want to share a little bit about that?
Joan: Yes, I think that… Well, there are many things that have changed. One of the obvious ones is there are a lot of women judges now. There were none when I first became a lawyer in 1976. There are a lot more minority judges in this area and generally throughout the country so that people can go into court, jurors, litigants, that is the plaintiff, the defendant and see people that are not all of one gender or one race, and so that’s very important. I think the law firms have gotten bigger, and yet we still have the people who have what I call people practices where we represent the normal everyday individual in their fight for justice, and that was the kind of practice I had before I got on the bench; I call it the people practice, someone who come in to my office for anything, whether their kid got in trouble, whether they needed a guardianship for their grandmother or their mother or father or probate or divorce or family law or their kid was arrested on drugs. It’s the neighborhood law office. I felt that was really lawyering, if you go into any court, if a person would leave our office as they do now and feel better, feel more secure, and feel well-taken care of, that’s our mission.
Gary: That’s great, and you know, you practiced for 20 years before you took the bench?
Gary: And, I think laws specialize since then. We don’t really do criminal. I’ve great criminal defense lawyers who I refer people to. I’ve great family law friends who I refer people to. So, what we’ve tried to do at our firm with my experience and where I work on on my deal is to represent people who were injured and through a variety of ways, auto accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls, workers comp, truck crashes, all kinds of stuff, and we are sometimes asked to litigate commercial cases and other stuff and try other types of cases, but we try to have that same family-take- care-of- you from beginning to end. I meet with the client in the first meeting. I send a letter to them at the end of the case. We try to get as much money as we can to settle the case, and we try to resolve all the liens and reduce the payouts to put as much money on their pocket. We help people on a variety of stuff not even in their case, helping with life, helping with other things, so we try to take that same people… It’s kind of gotten a little bit colder world than it was maybe 20 years ago, it seems like, but I think there’s warmth through people like you and the type of practice we do to try to help people through that.
Joan: I agree. It definitely has changed, and we’re just adapting to that, but we still have the personal approach. There was not a phone call that I got from a client or a potential client that was not returned. We do return our phone calls.
Gary: We do the same thing at my email’s firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s email@example.com. Our phone number’s 314-542- 2222. My personal cellphone’s at the bottom of every email that I send out. We have clients calling at night on the weekends and stuff because people have questions they want to have answered. Some of the questions you can have answered are on our website, www.burgerlaw.com . We do these videos to try to answer questions as well. If you have any other questions, call us, email us, or message us. Thank you.