Blog Posts


August 27, 2019
Captain Taggert Has Saved Us!

One of my favorite movies is Galaxy Quest, starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and a great supporting cast. The movie more or less posits: What if Star Trek were real? What if an alien species received broadcasts of Star Trek and decided to model their society after those “historical documents?” And what if that species then came here, to contact the Captain, and get his help – and that of the crew?

Obviously, this isn’t in the Star Trek world. But it’s an obvious “what if” modeled on that world. One of the later scenes involves Alan Rickman’s character trying to save a bunch of the alien crew from suffocation. At great effort, and great personal danger to himself, he gets the doors open and the alien crew is saved. Air flows into the compartment. The aliens start clapping; Rickman begins to bask in the glow of his recognition (finally!) as a hero; and then the aliens shout, “He has saved us! CAPTAIN TAGGERT HAS SAVED US!” This is so funny because Captain Taggert is Tim Allen’s character, not Rickman’s, and Allen’s character gets credit because he’s the Captain.

Running a law firm has those moments. And, because we’ve a talented and dedicated crew, we have them on a regular basis. I recently had a case where one of my associate attorneys did nearly all the work, all the preparation, and handled the trial as first chair on a highly contested case. That associate attorney, Ben Vojtik, did everything with very little input from me. We did, in fact, argue, because his vision of the trial differed from mine – he defended his vision aggressively and well, so he presented it to the client and she approved it. He pulled off a minor miracle. I was present in the courtroom on another case. The client was so thrilled with the results that she grabbed ME and hugged ME and said, “I knew you could do it!” But I hadn’t done it; Mr. Vojtik did it.


We had another case where our client discovered opposing party had deeded a business over to his mistress. He had changed the credit card machine to link to an out-of-state account, so (he thought) our client couldn’t get the money. We got orders ejecting him from the business, recovered the out-of-state funds, and one of my staff helped our client open a merchant bank account and set up the credit card machine. Our client ended up with the business. She came in a week later, and the staff member who did all that work with her to make sure the business didn’t go under and that her cash flow would be consistent was standing right there when… she blurted, “I am so lucky Carla helped me!”


Not long ago, I was in court when another associate attorney, Frances Gutierrez, handled an appearance and got excellent results. Ms. Gutierrez has worked the case for over a year. She’s met with the client, considered the pleadings, handled discovery. She’s pushed the case into settlement of most issues. The sole remaining issue was resolved and the client was appropriately pleased. And – the client made it a point to send a fruit basket to ME, thanking ME. Of course, I tried to point out Ms. Gutierrez’s hard work, but…


My partner, Patricia Lamas, and I both review our associates’ work to ensure the case is headed in the right direction, and that clients are fully advised before making decisions on strategy and tactics – but on cases we’ve let the associates run with, it’s literally the associate attorney who has worked, and thought, and dreamed about, and agonized, and lost sleep over the client’s case. I get praised a lot for their work – and every time I get praise someone else earned I try to point it out but often that goes unheard. And every time, I think:


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