Patrick Daniel, founder of Patrick Daniel Law, a personal injury law firm in Houston, Texas, said COVID-19 travel bans, closings and related restrictions have changed the way attorneys conduct their practices. But he added that the challenges of working within the chaos of COVID-19 restrictions could end up making them better lawyers.
“You’re going to have to learn how to adjust,” Daniel said. “I think ultimately it’s going to make those of who are able to be resilient, and study and change how we do things a little bit better lawyers, both in the courtroom and out of the courtroom.”
Daniel recently appeared as a guest on Houston West Chamber of Commerce’s Guest in the West radio podcast, hosted by Sherman On. He said the restrictions have forced attorneys to take the energy normally reserved for passionate courtroom rhetoric and refocus it on case preparation.
Texas was the first state to conduct a hearing via Zoom, the video conferencing program. Both parties have to agree to make it legally binding. Some attorneys see video conferencing as a way to help clear the backlog of cases that has grown during the pandemic, but it requires some creative techniques in order to function, Daniel remarked.
“You have to become strategic in a different way, utilizing a new formula,” Daniel said. “It’s akin to going to trial. You have to prepare for most everything, but you always have to react and counter-act to things that occur. It will be a lesson to all trial lawyers.”
Daniel feels confident that his firm is up to the task of retooling. As a law firm that thrives on actual courtroom litigation, Patrick Daniel Law prides itself on its meticulous preparation for trial. The fact that the courtroom element of the legal profession is on standby does not detract his firm’s lawyers.
“Preparation is more important now than it previously has been. If anything, COVID gave us an opportunity to catch up on some things,” Daniel remarked.
Another issue is the tightening of family budgets because one or more wage earners in the household lost their jobs due to the COVID shutdown. When a hard luck family situation becomes worse by an injury to a breadwinner, it leads to a profound sense of desperation, Daniel said. He told On that his firm had received more calls regarding financial hardship than at any point in recent memory.
Caring for its clients in a nurturing manner remains one of the pillars of Patrick Daniel Law. The caretaker approach requires more time, more commitment and more humility, especially in these difficult times, Daniel stated. Doing the things that infuse value in people that society often overlooks creates a special bond.
“It’s how you treat one another as human beings that’s so important. If we did more of that, I think we’d be living in a happier place,” Daniel said.
Patrick Daniel Law is a premier personal injury lawyer in Houston TX, with clients across nearly all 50 states. The firm has won outstanding settlements in areas of 18-wheeler accidents, motorcycle crashes, product defects, maritime injuries and Jones Act injuries, agricultural mishaps and property liability cases.