Interview With Paul J. Campson
Paul J. Campson, of Campson & Campson Attorneys at Law, is an experienced trial lawyer who has represented personal injury clients throughout New York State and in federal courts. His leading practice areas include lead and mold cases, abuse, motor vehicle accidents, and work injuries. Paul has also been recognized for his pro bono work on behalf of the victims of 9/11.
Lawyer Minds: What’s your ideal case?
Paul Campson: While all personal injury cases comprise unique fact patterns and we have handled all types, the ideal case is a labor law accident. Here in New York City, construction sites are notoriously dangerous. Prior to attending law school, I was a union member of The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and saw and experienced the dangers of construction sites. Even if OSHA protocols are followed, the nature of the business is inherently dangerous, and worker safety is threatened on the daily. The inherent conflict to push the construction project forward and workers’ safety is a collision course of philosophies. Unfortunately, many workers, even those in unions, are put in jeopardy as job completion and profits trump the workers’ wellbeing.
Lawyer Minds: What’s the most difficult part of handling a complex case?
Paul Campson: The most difficult part of handling a complex case is breaking it down to its simplest elements so that a jury, who does not have the required expertise, can comprehend the breaches in safety committed by the corporations. Whether the case be a labor law case or a toxic tort, there is a road map that must be followed to trace the breach or breaches in safety to the responsible party or parties while on a parallel plane ensure that the causation of injury to my client is a direct result of those breaches.
Lawyer Minds: What’s your favorite part of a trial? Why? What resources do you use in preparing for that part of trial?
Paul Campson: For me, my favorite part of the trial is the summation. It is in a well-crafted summation that you encapsulate all the years of hard work and discovery into the final act of representing your client. It allows you to speak with, not to the jury, and layout and emphasize the areas that are important to your client and their case. The most common resources I use are blown up photos, Day in the Life Videos, and slides. We are living in a visual era where people need information in many forms to really get the point across.
Lawyer Minds: What are some of the universal things you want any jury to know about your client?
Paul Campson: I think the most important thing you can communicate to a jury about your client is that they are just like the people in the jury box. Empathy is more powerful than sympathy. “There but for the grace of God, go I” is a powerful theme that needs to be presented in a subtle way to understand that their verdict will not only help a victim of negligence but may help protect them and the community in the future.
Lawyer Minds: What is your law firm’s culture like, and how does this contribute to success with clients?
Paul Campson: We have a small firm with my wife as my partner. I believe this allows us to take an intimate role in our clients’ cases because we treat them as members of our family. Just like marriages have a division of chores, likewise in our firm, we each focus on the areas we are best at and have the ability to discuss the pros and cons of a case without fear of reprisal.
Lawyer Minds: What’s your process for keeping a steady workflow in the office?
Paul Campson: We have an advertising budget and plan based on the different seasons of the year. For instance, in the winter months, we may focus more on slip and fall cases because of the snow and ice accumulations, then in the warmer months, we may focus more on construction cases and motor vehicle collisions. Further, we have an extensive list of attorneys who refer us cases to handle and cases to try on their behalf.
Lawyer Minds: What have your experiences taught you about managing people in a law firm?
Paul Campson: In over 30 years of practicing law, my experiences have taught me that everyone, be it judges, clients, or staff, all have the need to be heard and understood. Listening is an active skill. Focusing on an individual and not multi-tasking or assuming you already know the answer is the fastest way to have miscommunication. The ability to manage expectations across the board is vital in running a law firm. Also, I believe that if you hire well, delegation should be easier and more empowering to the staff.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone considering practicing law?
Paul Campson: My advice to someone contemplating getting into the law would be that they do it for the right reasons and not just for financial rewards. If you can channel your passion into an area of law that serves others, you will have a fulfilling career. The passionate representation of injury victims is more of a calling than a job.
Lawyers Minds would like to thank Paul for sharing his insight and knowledge with us as a trial attorney!