Today we’re excited to share a presentation by Jim Hacking from MaxLawCon 2021! Tune in to learn all about Jim’s amazing journey that started him on a path to becoming a lawyer, the need to find something bigger than himself, and advocating for others.
1:20 Susan Carlson
3:35 a warrior
6:16 never been named
9:20 made on my behalf
11:30 you’re changing the trajectory of people’s lives
13:31 be your best self
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Transcript: How A Lawyer Changed My Life w/ Jim Hacking
In today’s episode, we’re sharing a presentation from Maxwell con 2021. Keep listening to hear Jim hacking as we share his talk how a lawyer changed my life. You can also head to the maximum lawyer YouTube channel to watch the full video. Have you grabbed your ticket to this year’s conference? If not head to max law con 2020 two.com to get yours today. Now to the episode.
Run your law firm the right way. This is the maximum liar podcast, podcast. Your hosts, Jim hacking and Tyson nutrix. Let’s partner up and maximize your firm. Welcome
to the show. May 30 2007. You’re in the St. Louis County Courthouse, a windowless, drab place that was built in the 70s without any sunlight whatsoever. You’re on the third floor in division 13. You’re before the judge Barbara Wallace. Judge Wallace enters the courtroom. The bailiff asks everyone to rise. I’m not going to ask you to rise. plaintiff’s counsel, defense counsel. The rest of the courtroom is empty except for one person sitting in the back. plaintiff’s counsel is a woman named Susan Carlson. Susan Carlson is a member of the ACLU and she spends her time fighting for victims of childhood sexual abuse. She’s a warrior. She’s dressed like an FBI agent. She has a very smart suit on with a red shirt. She has very nice silver hair spectacles, very academic very smart. Across from her from the judge is a lawyer named Edie golden Hirsch. He is someone who looks like he just ate a lemon and he has perpetually white hairs if he’s seen a ghost, they’re getting ready to argue. The bailiff calls the case John Doe, AJ versus the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis. And this is the defendants motion for summary judgment. Mr. Golden Harish represents the defendants. And Ms. Carlson represents the plaintiff. Defense Attorney stands up and he says, Your Honor, we are here today on defendants motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff alleges that when he was a child when he was nine or 10 years old, that he was at the server’s picnic at little flower Parish, and that he was abused and traumatized by a priest named Roger McDonough. We will show through our motion that Mr. Doe, even if you take his testimony is true. He repressed that memory from the age of 10 until the age of 24. But when he turned 24, he told people about what happened. He realized what had happened to him, but he had repressed for so many years. And he told his sister, he told his girlfriend, he told his parents. And right about this time, right when Miss Carlson is about to make her arguments. The judge notices that person in the back of the room. And she says who is that person back there? And Miss Carlson says that’s my client. That’s John Doe, AJ. And I’ve already spilled the beans. But that was me, right? So I sat in the back of that courtroom, listening to this argument. And I was sobbing. I was sobbing because for the first time in my life, someone was about to stand up and speak on my behalf. Someone was about to advocate for me, a lawyer, a warrior was going to get up and tell my story and tell judge Wallace, why we should win summary judgment. How did we get here? How is why am I sitting in the back of this courtroom? I was a lawyer and I am a lawyer. And you know, this happened to me when I was a kid. And I didn’t tell anybody for a really long time when I was getting ready to go to law school. It all came back to me. And I did tell people, I told all the people that I had golden hair said that I told a case had come out from the Missouri court of appeals that change the dynamic on the statute of limitations. That was their whole argument was that I had more than the statute of limitations by not filing suit when my memory came back to me. And they hung their hat on that. And let me tell you real quickly, litigation against the Catholic Church is not fun. Okay. They fight hard. And one of the things that was really interesting in this case is that they were worried that I was going to craft my testimony to the documents that we were going to receive in discovery. So we had to do is I had to sit for a deposition first. That was the very first piece of discovery in the whole case. And I had to get my deposition on a Sunday morning and I’ll never forget it.
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So my priest Roger McDonough had never been named or outed as a abusive priest. And so the deal was the deal that attorney Carlson cut for me was that I would sit for my deposition. And then we would be given whatever documents they had. And I’ve been living with this at this point for 13 years. And I still had doubts. You know, everything’s jumbled up when something like that happens to you as a kid, everything’s jumbled up. And so I sat through that deposition. It was an all day affair, not fun. The church’s attorneys, Mr. Golden Hirsch, and his associates were very, very aggressive. But we sat through the deposition, I made it through. And they came out with a stack of documents that big, it was that big. I grabbed it. I grabbed those documents. Susan, I went across the street, to Starbucks. And we started paging through one by one, we’d read a page hand to page read a page handed page, not one, not two, not three, but four parishes before he got to mine. For parishes, before he got to mine, there could have been no better notice to the Archdiocese that this guy was a perpetrator. Because one angry father had gone down to the Archdiocese wanting to punch the cardinal in the nose, and they had documentation of it. To me, that was the whole case, the whole thing, getting those documents, I didn’t care if I got $1. But knowing and knowing there was no gift greater than that. Susan got that for me. We had gone to mediation, while the summary judgment motions were pending. And they were again, very aggressive. They offered me like two or $3,000. I had to go to this all day affair. They have this committee that comes and tells you how sorry they are. And then they offer you two or $3,000. My parents came to that it’s the only time in my entire life that I’ve seen my father cry. My father cried because he felt like he couldn’t protect me. The church made us go through all that stuff. So and you know what else the church did is, I was estranged from my parents at this time, actually, I was not in the best space with them. And I wasn’t talking to them. Instead of telling Susan Carlson that he wanted to take the depositions of my parents, my girlfriend, my sister’s, had someone jump out of the bushes at six at night, scare the crap out of my parents and serve them with subpoena. So it was just full scale, aggressive litigation, the kind of stuff that I think gives lawyers a bad name. So I had been through the wringer. We went to this mediation they offered us, you know, like I said, just a little bit of money. We had a lot riding on the motion for summary judgment. The Missouri Court of Appeals had just handed down a case that said that the statute is a little bit different, that it’s not when the plaintiff knew of what happened to him. It’s when the harm was capable of ascertainment. And importantly, they said that was a jury issue. And that’s the argument that Susan Carlson made on my behalf that day, when I was sitting in the back of the courtroom, so that was on May 30 2007. On June 8, Judge waltz became my favorite judge of all time. In a one sentence order. She said defendants motion for summary judgment, heard and denied. And that unlocked me, I was working in a firm where I liked my job. I liked the guys that I worked with. Were doing insurance defense, Susan Carlson through her litigation and through her expertise, and because of her forceful arguments to judge Wallace that even though I knew what had happened to me in 2004, it wasn’t until I went into therapy and talked with her First that the harm was capable of ascertainment that she unleashed me on the world, right. And so, so that was in June of 2007. I started my firm, January 1 of 2008, we ended up settling for a whole lot more 100 times more what they had offered us a mediation. I took the money, I helped to pay off some of my student loans. And I use it as a seed to start the firm. Now, I have thought long and hard about getting into the business of suing, the Archdiocese was a great lawyer, and she didn’t need me. So I needed something else, I need something bigger than me. For years, I’ve been asked by people at the mosque and in the community to help them with immigration. So I found a bully, I found a different bully. And that bully is USCIS. And that decision by Judge Wallace, which I’m sure she doesn’t even remember, right, I’m sure she doesn’t you remember a one sentence order that allowed me to go out on my own, and to start my firm and to advocate for people. And since that time, we’ve built this big immigration firm. And we have these a wonderful, wonderful team. And in doing so, just like Susan changed my life, we’ve been able to go and change other people’s lives, we’ve helped literally change the trajectory of people’s lives. That’s what Susan did. For me. That’s what I’m doing for other people. And that’s what you guys are doing. That’s what each and every one of you guys are doing. You’re changing the trajectory of people’s lives, right? It’s not just money. It’s not just, you know, a paycheck, it’s not just passing time, we’re changing people’s lives. And we’re doing it every day. And you know what, we’re gonna make money doing it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So all that comes into play. Now, 2008 and 2009 is also an important time in my life. Because for some crazy twisted reason I had started. It started my firm in 2008, and 2009, or 2010, I taught a class at the law school on how to open your own law firm. And in that class, I had 16 students, and they were third year law students, and one of them came to class early, sat in the front, I was very lazy, I only had guest speakers. So he would come and meet each of the guest speakers. And his name was Tyson. And Tyson decided to go out on his own, and we were friends. And we were giving each other advice. That’s when we started the podcast. And now the podcast has grown five years later. Here we are. And in this role to we’re changing lives, right? We’re helping change the trajectory of law firm owners lives, we’re helping you build better lives for your family, the speakers that we have lined up, you heard it from David Freese. This is people who really care who this is not your average law conference. I hope that with my sharing that you can see that this is not your regular lawyer conference, we’re not telling each other how great we are. We’re just here with good expertise, and sharing what we have. We’re not asking for a quid pro quo. We’re not asking for anything. I mean, I think once again, we’re probably going to lose money on the conference. But that’s fine. We’re glad to do it. Because getting you all together, and helping all of you change the lives of other people. That’s why we did this. This is why I shared my story. So if you have things that you have to deal with, if you have things that you need to fix, do it. Do it be your best self, be your best self grow, and continue to grow and do your best. And I love you all. I’ll see you around. Thank you.
Thanks for listening to the maximum lawyer podcast. Stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content. Go to maxximum liar.com. Have a great week and catch you next time.