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I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and as a matter of fact, I still live in Brooklyn. I was actually politically active all throughout my young life starting in the sixth grade when I raised money for freedom schools in the South. I was active in the ‘60s and throughout college. It almost seemed natural for me to go to law school.
I went to Antioch in Washington D.C., which operated a poverty law firm at that time, so I was able to start working right away in the courts, representing prisoners in prison or habeas corpus and on disciplinary shots. I represented people who were dramatically injured many times through no fault of their own, and they have no way to get justice except through the courts and by getting representation from somebody like me who can speak for them.
When I first started to practice many years ago, there were a tremendous number of factories in Brooklyn. I represented many workers who were dramatically injured by machines that were never turned off, that didn't have safety equipment on them; people who lost limbs and had horrific injuries; and of course they were the little guy. It's only because of attorneys that do the type of work that I do that many changes were finally affected in the United States.
Presenting my case to a jury really clarifies for me, and obviously for the defendants as well—the people who are being sued, the insurance companies and their lawyers—exactly what this case is valued at, what my client's injuries are, and what their responsibility is for those injuries. I like having six people from the community look at the defendants and judge them.
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