Tyler Schneider is a trial attorney who represents clients in the areas of catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, toxic torts, maritime law, products liability, pharmaceutical and medical devices, and other mass torts. Tyler’s diversity in litigations accentuates his strength in organization and strategy. He joined TorHoerman Law in 2013 and considers himself a “one-man repository of legal knowledge and bad puns” (it’s a requirement — every law firm needs at least one). Below, Tyler shares his wisdom:
Lawyer Minds: What types of cases do you handle?
Tyler Schneider: At TorHoerman Law, our focus is fixing wrongs. Typically, this is seen in cases involving physical injuries, but at times, this can be financial wrongs as well. That means that attorneys in my office, including myself, could be working on anything from a car accident to a pharmaceutical case to a complex class action.
Basically, we work to hold the bad guys accountable.
Lawyer Minds: When you are deciding about whether to take a case, what factors are you considering?
Tyler Schneider: There is no “one size fits all” approach to taking a case. We look at the underlying facts, whether there are any immediate concerns (statute of limitations, access to evidence), and whether can we properly handle the case (i.e. it’s not a specialty like bankruptcy).
You wouldn’t hire a plumber to do your electric work. Similarly, our attorneys wouldn’t take a divorce case. We focus in on what we’re good at: representing people who have been injured.
Lawyer Minds: How important is creativity when working on complex cases?
Tyler Schneider: Creativity is the foundation of being a lawyer. The law is constantly evolving, and judges’ legal opinions are continually creating nuisances in the law. Further, every case has its own unique facts. Thus, to get our cases to trial, we often must be creative in how we prosecute a case.
Lawyer Minds: How do you stay current on law changes that could impact a client’s case?
Tyler Schneider: Reading and working in the field are the main ways and have been since the dawn of lawyers. There’s no secret sauce; it’s just doing the grind.
Lawyer Minds: How do you prepare for trial?
Tyler Schneider: The closest analogy to trial preparation I can give you is making a movie. Similar to how a director prepares for every scene, every line, every moment in his movie; a good trial lawyer does as well. But the difference is that in movies, actors seldom improvise. Real life does not work the same way. Trials are full of emotions and surprises. What we do is try to be prepared to react and control those surprises while continually educating the jury on why our client deserves their attention.
Trials are full of emotions and surprises. What we do is try to be prepared to react and control those surprises while continually educating the jury on why our client deserves their attention.
Lawyer Minds: Is there a moment in any trial that sticks out to you—good or bad—and can you share that?
Tyler Schneider: Every trial has moments that stick with you and most trial lawyers could write a book on those moments (and many have!). My first word ever uttered in an opening statement was in federal court and it was the F word. This was not because I tripped or I was being vulgar, but rather because an explicit quote from the Defendant was a huge part of the case and it needed to be heard by the jury. I still remember going to the judge the morning before and asking for his permission. He looked at me sternly and said, “my kids are going to be in the galley watching tomorrow” – which gave me a bit of anxiety – before he smiled and said “hey, sooner or later they are going to have to realize what the real world is like.”
Lawyer Minds: What constitutes success in your mind regarding a case outcome?
Tyler Schneider: Success means the client is satisfied with the outcome. I wish I could tell you that “success means the client is happy” – but that would be a lie. Life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes a case is resolved because of circumstances beyond my or my client’s control. In cases involving a death, there is no amount of money in the world that can fill the void left by losing someone. But if in the end, I’ve helped someone move forward with their life, helped them heal, then I say that’s success.
Lawyer Minds: Do you believe pessimism or optimistic is more valuable as a lawyer?
Tyler Schneider: I am sure someone else has a creative answer for you on why pessimism is important, but I’m not that guy. There’s enough pessimism in everything we do and see. We could all use a little more optimism in our lives.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone considering practicing law?
Tyler Schneider: Do it because you want to do it, not because you don’t know what else to do and you think people will like you as a lawyer. You need to like you if you want to help people.
You need to like you if you want to help people.
Lawyer Minds: What’s one thing you want the readers to know about you that we didn’t ask?
Tyler Schneider: You didn’t ask what my favorite lawyer movie is, which is incredibly important – right?!
I’ve debated this often, and while I love some of the classics, my go to is My Cousin Vinny. Joe Pesci has perhaps the best trial opening statement of all time with:
“Vinny: Uh, everything that guy just said is bull****. Thank you.”
Lawyer Minds would like to thank Tyler Schneider for sharing his insights with our readers.