Paul J. Campson is an experienced trial lawyer who has successfully litigated personal injury cases on behalf of injured plaintiffs in supreme courts throughout New York, as well as in federal courts. He runs a private practice firm in New York called Campson & Campson. Within the areas of personal injury, Paul is experienced with lead and mold cases, abuse and motor vehicle accident cases, and work injury claims. This is a follow-up interview to Paul’s first interview with Lawyer Minds last year.
Lawyer Minds: What types of cases do you handle?
Paul J. Campson: We handle all types of personal injury cases, including car crashes and trip and falls/slip and falls. We also handle construction site accidents. Before I went to law school, I was in the carpenter’s union, The United Brotherhood of Carpenters, so this is an area of practice I know very well.
Lawyer Minds: When you are deciding about whether to take a case, what factors are you considering?
Paul J. Campson: There are several factors to consider, but the most important one is how effectively I can represent the client to make them whole from their injuries. Other factors include liability or how the accident happened and damages.
Lawyer Minds: How important is creativity when working on complex cases?
Paul J. Campson: Creativity is very important. That is why reading a broad range of books and articles on psychology, history, and literature is important for a trial lawyer. You never can tell where a good idea, phrase, or inspiration comes from.
Lawyer Minds: How do you stay current on law changes that could impact a client’s case?
Paul J. Campson: The legal industry offers a variety of CLE (Continuing Legal Education) classes to stay current. Unfortunately, many lawyers do not avail themselves of this resource, but it is vital in being an effective trial counsel.
Lawyer Minds: How do you prepare for trial?
Paul J. Campson: Trial preparation begins at the intake phase. Every detail is recorded before memories fade or get obscured by the pain and suffering the client has endured. Also, nothing is more effective then visiting a client in their home and meeting family and friends to get a complete picture of the impact the accident has had on the client’s life.
Lawyer Minds: Is there a moment in any trial that sticks out to you—good or bad—and can you share that?
Paul J. Campson: I had a trial where a young woman’s leg was badly burned in a fire. In court, she was wearing long pants and the jury could not see her scar (there is a danger of de-sensitizing a jury with continued exposure to an injury or scar). When she rolled up her pant leg to show the jury her leg, there was the collective gasp from the jury. The case settled 5 minutes later.
Lawyer Minds: What constitutes success in your mind regarding a case outcome?
Paul J. Campson: Success is making the client whole. Injured victims want to be heard and they want justice. Many times, that comes in the form of a money settlement, but not always. Closure is a huge part of a successful outcome.
Lawyer Minds: Do you believe pessimism or optimistic is more valuable as a lawyer?
Paul J. Campson: Pessimism. Every case I try, I look at it from the view of “how can I lose this case?” Believing in your own powers of persuasion is necessary, but a cold view of the reality and flaws in the case are mandatory.
Lawyer Minds: What’s another piece of advice you’d give to someone considering practicing law?
Paul J. Campson: Play to your strengths. Not everyone is a trial lawyer or can run their own firm. But you can be a valuable addition if you are strong on the law, a great writer, or excel in research. The team is of vital importance.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one thing you want the readers to know about you that we didn’t ask?
Paul J. Campson: It is the personal touch that makes the difference. All my clients have my cell number and can call or text me 24-7. Our clients become our friends and we exchange birthday wishes and holiday greetings because it is important to remember. It is not me, it’s always about the client.
Lawyer Minds would like to thank Paul for sharing his additional insights with our readers.